Pavakka theeyal

Pavakka Theeyal

Here is the recipe for one of the most sought after side dishes in Kerala.

Pavakka Theeyal
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Kerala, South Indian, Indian
Serves: 3-4
  • Pavakka (bitter gourd) - 1 medium
  • Grated Coconut - 1 cup
  • Chilli Powder - ½ tbsp
  • Coriander Powder - ½ tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
  • Pepper corns - 2
  • Fenugreek - a pinch
  • Mustard seeds - a pinch
  • Small Onion - 4
  • Ginger - 1 desert spoon
  • Garlic - 1 desert spoon
  • Green chilli - 1,2
  • Tamarind - size of a small lemon
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil
  1. Fry the coconut till it becomes golden brown. Add the ingredients from chilli powder to mustard seeds and continue frying till it becomes dark brown. Make sure that it doesnt get burnt. Once this is cool, grind it without water. Add some water to the ground mix & stir well. Keep it aside.
  2. Soak tamarind in 1 tablespoon water.
  3. Steam pavakka, with ingredients from small onion to green chilli, till it becomes soft ( You can also microwave it for 4 minutes). Heat oil in a pan & saute the steamed pavakka for 5 minutes. Add the tamarind along with its pulp. When it starts boiling add the ground coconut mix. Let it boil. Garnish with fried small onions & curry leaves.


  • Joe

    I like this dish… its really healthy stuff. Though some might not be able to savour the taste.

  • Renu

    hai maria

    i tried out this recipe, and it came out very well…

  • Maria

    Thanks dear, for trying it out. Please try the other dishes also :)

  • chi

    hi maria,looked thru u re blog…looks really yummy..tried out the caramelpudding…..nice……..was going thru the photos on the blog….saw a fish curry and a veg fry…but didnt c it on the list ….how do iaccess it?oh…by the way,iused tob in bahrain b4…lovelyplace,allae,miss it very much.

    • Maria

      Hi Chi,

      First of all so sorry for the delayed response. I missed your comment somehow :(.

      Thanks for trying the caramel pudding, its one of my fav’s. For the fish curry check out the tab of fish recipes on the right side & for veg curry check out the vegetarian recipes tab. Hope you find it :)

      Happy cooking :)

      Once again so sorry for the delayed response.

      Wish you & your family a beautiful new year!


  • Soumya

    HI ,
    I;m soumya frm with my newborn baby…life;s quite bzeee..but my husbnds keep demanding good authentic keralite food(husnds gets cribby..they feel we r avoidin them)so i make sure he feels good by tryin all u;r tasty recipies.Nice presentation.lovd u;r recipies( husbnd thinks that i;m a grt cook hehe)he says i have good kaiipunyam…cant tel him its all a magic!!!!!!!!..thank uuu!

    • Maria

      Hi Soumya,

      First of all congrats on becoming a mommy ! May God bless your little one abundantly!

      Thanks dear for your wonderful comment. I’m so happy that you like the recipes here. I’m sure that you have good kaipunyam, after all recipes can only guide you :)

      I’m sorry about the delayed response, I’m on vacation currently & hence the delay.

      Wish you & your family a happy & blessed new year!


  • Sonia

    Hey Maria,This is d best pavakka theeyal I’ve ever made,thanx 2 u..and I’m sure my hubby will b happy too coz he’s a pavakka freak..he loves anything with pavakka in it(unlike us normal beings,hehee)..hv recommended ur site 2 many of my family & friends.Keep up d cook work!!

    • Maria

      Dear Sonia,

      Thanks a ton for your sweet comment. Nice to know that you liked the pavakka theeyal. Btw, its the first time I’m hearing that someone loves pavakka so much, great :) I also like it but not a big fan ;)

      Thank you so much for recommending this space.


      • Megan

        Hi Maria,

        My question may sound stupid here but what’s Pavakka?
        I am mauritian and we do cook indian dishes and I may know pavakka under another name
        Pics are great. Have not yet tried your recipes but will real soon.


        • Riji Jacob

          Hi Maria,

          I was reading about this recipe when I found your query that was left un-answered. Pavakka is an indian vegetable called bitter gourd. There are 2 kinds available.

          Hope bitter gourd may ring a bell for you.

          • Maria Jose

            Hi Riji,

            Thanks for taking time to post a comment here & also for clarifying Megan’s question :) I happen to miss some comments in between. I guess that’s what happened with the above comment.


  • Megan

    Ok. I got it…. I know what it is but in mauritius have never seen it cooked this way. Will definitely try it, specially for my husband who is indian.


    • Maria

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks for visiting this space :)

      Did you get a chance to cook this? Hope you liked it in that case. Btw, I’m just curious, what do you make with this in Mauritius? Hope you dont mind me asking….


  • Rani

    Hi Maria
    All your receipes are excellent and very useful. I have one small suggestion. Please use all english words in your receipes. Some non english ingredients are difficult to understand and it took some time for me to find out what is Pavakkal.

    • Maria Jose

      Hi Rani,

      Thanks a lot for the comment & also for the suggestion. I’ll definitely try to add the english names as well, wherever possible.


  • shiny

    hello maria..

    You are doing an awesome work…i appreciate that…
    i am very confident in my kitchen now and that s mainly because of you..


    • Maria Jose

      Hi Shiny,

      It was so great to read your comment, thanks a ton :) I’m really really happy that MM helps you a lot with cooking.

      All the best!

  • Uma


    am ur new fan.. this s the 1st recp i tried…i gt so much appreciation..its dedicated for u dr…. Can u please tell me the way to reduce the bitterness of pavakka

    • Maria Jose

      Thank you so much dear :), btw, please call me Maria..

      Add a little salt to sliced pavakka and keep for sometime. Then squeeze the pavakka nicely, this should help to reduce the bitterness.

      Hope it helps..