Bitter gourd Pitlai

Bitter gourd Pitlai

Bitter gourd Pitlai is a well known gravy dish in Tamil Nadu cooked with lentils and vegetables. It is commonly prepared in Brahmin Families.

Pitlai can be prepared using many vegetables. Most commonly used veggies are bitter gourd, Arabi, Bottlegourd,Raw Banana etc.

This is one such dish in which bitter gourd is cooked in gravy apart from kuzhambu.This dish should not be confused with the one that is called “Pitla” which is a side dish for any rotis in Maharashtra and North Karnataka made out of chick pea flour (Besan).

I feel I am blessed to be aware of many great dishes cooked across South India. My mom makes pitlai when fresh bitter gourd is brought home. I used to relish this yummy dish though I was not aware of how it was prepared in those days. But now since I cook I can clearly distinguish the flavors because of various ingredients. I also feel happy for some these tasty recipes are cooked even at my In-Laws place.

Now hold on. This recipe is not exclusively prepared in Tamil Nadu. It’s even prepared in Andhra and some parts of Karnataka. In Andhra this is called “Miriyam Pindi” meaning gravy made out of pepper corns. Obviously, pepper is the king maker here ;-) ;). The only difference being that most of the times tamarind is not added in Andhra Version.

At my In Laws place they call it “Kootu” though this name is given to another dish in Tamil Nadu. So I even had a debate on this ;-) ;). But finally I am getting the same taste what I was looking for. So no harm in calling kootu or pitlai

I even add some nuts to add that crunchy punch into this gravy sometimes. I mostly add a handful of peanuts by just boiling them in a small cup along with the dhal in pressure cooker.

Pitlai tastes great when the masala is freshly ground. But it is not possible always to invest time in grinding the masala. Hence we can make powder and store it and can be used just like sambhar and rasam powders.

This weekend I had prepared Pitlai as I had time to grind the fresh masala which is my first choice. I prepared it for the first time and it turned out yummy. I was careful to not to add any ingredients in surplus quantity to maintain the flavor and that mainly contributed to the balanced taste.

Let us see how to make Bitter gourd Pitlai

Bitter Gourd Pitlai- Bitter gourds cooked in Pepper Flavoured Lentils

Ingredients

Fresh Bitter gourds : 2

Toor Dhal : ¾ cup

Tamarind : Lemon sized

Jaggery : 1 tsp grated

Curry Leaves : A few

Mustard Seeds and Cumin seeds : for tadka

Haldi(Turmeric Powder) : A pinch

Hing : A pinch

Oil – tsp

Salt : As per taste

For the Paste:

Urad dhal (Black Gram) : ½ tsp

Chana Dhal (Bengal gram) : ½ tsp

Dhania (Coriander Seeds) : 1tsp

Red Chillies : 5-6

Pepper Corns : 7-8

Grated Coconut : ½ cup

Method

Bittergourd Pitlai

Pressure toor dhal and keep aside.

Soak tamarind in water and extract the juice of it.

For the paste dry roast Urad Dhal, Chana dhal, Dhania, Pepper and coconut

Add few drops of oil in the same pan and roast red chillies and add hing on it

Now grind all these ingredients into a thick paste adding little water.

Bitter gourd Pitlai powder

Now for the ready to make pitiai we can prepare the powder and store it in air tight containers and can be used when required.To prepare the powder follow the same procedure as mentioned for making the masala pasted. Only difference it replace the fresh grated coconut with the dry coconut. Grind these ingredients to a fine powder, cool the mixture and store it.

In a pan add 2 tsps of oil and add the bitter gourd pieces and shallow fry them. If you prefer using more oil then you can deep fry bitter gourd pieces until they turn brown and crispy. But I prefer the former method because the pieces would be soft and also the bitterness of the vegetable adds up to the taste.

In a vessel pour the tamarind juice, add salt, turmeric powder and the ground paste and bring it to boil.

See to it that the paste gets sinker into the tamarind juice well.

This helps in elimination of raw smell of tamarind and enhancing the flavor of the spice.

Now mash the boiled toor dhal and add it to the boiling mixture along with sufficient water to attain sambhar consistency.

Now add the fried bitter gourd and simmer it until the pitlai starts boiling well.

Prepare a tadka by heating the remaining 1 spoon of oil and add mustard seeds and jeera seeds and allow them to splutter

Add the curry leaves and sprinkle some hing.

Add this tadka to the boiling pitlai and mix well.

Serve hot with hot rice and ghee

This goes well with chapathi also

Bittergourd Pitlai-1

Bitter Gourd Pitlai- Bitter gourds cooked in Pepper Flavoured Lentils

Bitter gourd Pitlai
Recipe Type: Dhal
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Krish
Bitter Gourd Pitlai : Bitter Gourds Cooked in Pepper Flavored Dhal
Ingredients
  • 1. Fresh Bitter gourds : 2
  • 2. Toor Dhal : ¾ cup
  • 3. Tamarind : Lemon sized
  • 4. Jaggery : 1 tsp grated
  • 5. Curry Leaves : A few
  • 6. Mustard Seeds and Cumin seeds : for tadka
  • 7. Haldi(Turmeric Powder) : A pinch
  • 8. Hing : A pinch
  • 9. Oil – tsp
  • 10. Salt : As per taste
  • For the Paste:
  • 1.Urad dhal (Black Gram) : ½ tsp
  • 2. Chana Dhal (Bengal gram) : ½ tsp
  • 3. Dhania (Coriander Seeds) : 1tsp
  • 4.Red Chillies : 5-6
  • 5.Pepper Corns : 7-8
  • 6.Grated Coconut : ½ cup
Instructions
  1. • Pressure toor dhal and keep aside.
  2. • Soak tamarind in water and extract the juice of it.
  3. • For the paste dry roast Urad Dhal, Chana dhal, Dhania, Pepper and coconut
  4. • Add few drops of oil in the same pan and roast red chillies and add hing on it
  5. • Now grind all these ingredients into a thick paste adding little water.
  6. • In a pan add 2 tsps of oil and add the bitter gourd pieces and shallow fry them. If you prefer using more oil then you can deep fry bitter gourd pieces until they turn brown and crispy. But I prefer the former method because the pieces would be soft and also the bitterness of the vegetable adds up to the taste.
  7. • In a vessel pour the tamarind juice, add salt, turmeric powder and the ground paste and bring it to boil. See to it that the paste gets sinker into the tamarind juice well. This helps in elimination of raw smell of tamarind and enhancing the flavor of the spice.

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