Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Pavakka Theeyal - Bitter Gourd Cooked in a spicy Coconut Sauce - Vegan

Theeyal is a side dish for Rice made in the South Indian State of Kerala. It basically has its flavours coming from Shallots. The spice mix includes red chilli, coriander and curry leaves. The key to a tasty theeyal is the perfect browning of the coconut. The word theeyal itself means charred.

Basic theeyal can be made with just shallots. But then other variations exists. The ones made with Bitter Gourd (Pavakka theeyal) and Prawns (Konju theeyal) are quite famous. Today I present you the Pavakka Theeyal.


Pavakka (Bitter Gourd) 4 Big sliced
Shallots 3-4 (Or use half an onion)
Grated Coconut (Fresh or Frozen)  1 cup
Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies 5
Tamarind Paste 1 tsp
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 10-12

Oil and Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

1. Cut the Bitter Gourd and shallots (or onions).

2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the coconut and saute for a couple of min. Add the coriander seeds, red chillies and Shallots.

3. Saute till it turns dark brown, making sure it does not burn. I usually use a non-stick pan for this step so that it does not stick to the bottom and does not smoke the house.

4. Cool and grind into a fine paste adding little water. Do not use too much water.

5. In a pot, add the bitter gourd and a couple of cups of water and boil till the vegetable is cooked.

6. Add some oil  in the pan and add the mustard seeds.

7. When it sputters, add the curry leaves and then the cooked bitter gourd. Saute for a couple of minutes. You can also use raw bitter gourd and fry it here in the oil. I boil it ahead of time to reduce oil consumed.

8. Add the ground paste, tamarind and salt. Add about a cup of water as well. Note that Theeyal is a very thick gravy. Just add only as much water as required.

9. Bring it to a boil and switch off. Enjoy with Rice


  1. Love that mannu bowl. And theeyal with pavakai I have never made. More excuse to pick up pavakai