Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 35 Mins

Every South-Indian meal usually has two or three course. Starting off with Paruppu or thogayal or Podi , followed with Kulambu. While Sambar, Kara kuzhambu and Rasam are commonly made, there are some kulambu varieties that are traditionally prepared with freshly grounded masala. One such very flavorful Kulambu is Pitlai. Pitlai is made with bittergourd, or, brinjal. The spices used in this pitlai are very authentic to south-Indian cooking. These are freshly roasted and ground to a paste. Though it may look more like Sambar, the ingredients used in pitlai are different giving it a unique flavor and taste. Some people also add fresh peanuts to make pitlai. In this recipe, I have used bitter gourd/Pavakkai to make pitlai. Also, I highly recommend using coconut oil to temper this kulambu for that extra flavor. Try this authentic pitlai kulambu and enjoy with hot rice and ghee.


0/15 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Roast and Grind


0/4 Instructions
  • Slice bitter gourd to circles. Pressure cook for one whistle. Extract tamarind juice. Add to a pan with turmeric powder and pressure cooked bitter gourd. Let it come to. rolling boil.
  • Now add required salt and 1/4 cup of cooked toor dal.
  • In a small pan, add coconut oil. Roast urad dal, Coriander seeds, pepper corns and red chilli. Turn off stove and add grated coconut. Grind to a paste with water. Add this paste to the kulambu. Let it boil until it thickens. Add half a teaspoon of jaggery at the end.
  • Make a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves in coconut oil. Add the tempering to the kulambu. serve hot with rice and ghee.


  • I have used bitter gourd/pavakkai to make this kulambu. You can also add brinjal. In this case, there is no need to pressure cook the brinjal. Add cubed brinjal to tamarind water.
  • In case you are adding peanuts, pressure cook them for two or three whistles and add along with toor dal.


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