Pavakka Theeyal - Bitter Melon Curry

Pavakka Theeyal - Bitter Melon Curry

Bitter melon or pavakka is cooked in a spiced coconut-ty tamarind based sauce to make this thick curry of Theeyal which is an integral component of the massive Kerala style festival feast of Sadya.

Course Sides
Cuisine Indian, Indian - Kerala, Indian - South Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 519 kcal
Author Manju


To roast and grind to a paste

For tempering

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7-8 curry leaves


  1. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water, squeeze out the pulp. Strain and pour into a deep pan. Repeat with 1/2 cup water two more times.
  2. Heat the 1 tsp coconut oil and add the bitter melon to it. Sauté till it softens a little. Add the turmeric powder, salt and the tamarind water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat till the bitter melon are cooked and soft.

  3. Meanwhile, roast the coconut along with the red chillies, pearl onions and coriander seeds over low-medium heat till the coconut becomes light brown in color throughout. Keep stirring, as you don’t want part of the coconut burnt and part of it not toasted at all.
  4. Let it cool and grind to a very fine paste in a food processor or an Indian style mixie, with a little water to help grind better.
  5. Pour this out to the pan on the stove with the tamarind and bitter melon

  6. Mix well and let it come to a boil.
  7. Heat the coconut oil for tempering, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add curry leaves and pour it over the curry.
  8. Serve hot with rice.
Nutrition Facts
Pavakka Theeyal - Bitter Melon Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 519 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Sodium 186mg 8%
Potassium 1762mg 50%
Total Carbohydrates 89g 30%
Dietary Fiber 18g 72%
Sugars 48g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 57.1%
Vitamin C 691.1%
Calcium 30.7%
Iron 40.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.