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Every thing about PAVAKKAI KOZHAMBU | Vahrehvah :

Bitter gourd is referred in Malayalam as pavakka. Pavakkai Kuzhambu is a classic South Indian spicy kulambu made by cooking bitter gourd / bitter melon with species and tamrind juice. This tangy gravy goes with rice. It can also be served as a side dish to idli and dosa.

Kuzhambu is a gravy based made with tamarind, urad (bean) dal and toor dal, and can include vegetables. The dish is very popular as a side for rice in the southern regions of India especially in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Kuzhambu  is yummy tangy stew using a broth made out of tamarind, tur dal, and will include veggies. 

The numbers of varieties of kuzhambu are countless, with each state in the South preparing it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.  Some of the well-known recipes include the Mor Kuzhambu, poricha kuzhambu, vathal kuzhambu, vazhakai kuzhambu etc and many of these kinds of kuzhambu incorporate a base of tamarind, urad and toor dals, spices for example curry leaves, chili, and salt.

Bitter gourd is known as pavakka in Malayalam, pavakkai in Tamil, karela in Hindi and kakarakaya in telugu, haagalkai in Kannada. Bitter gourd has mixed reviews, one set of people that I know simply love anything and everything made with bitter gourd and another set of people who simply run away if they hear the word bitter gourd. One big change that happened in my life after I started to blog was the like towards bitter gourd. The trick lies in how Bitter gourd is cooked. 

Preparation Tips:

  • Scrape the rugged outer surface till smooth. (Do not discard this peel as it is a storehouse of nutrients. Add it to the dough while making parathas or muthias.)
  • Cut the bitter gourd into rings or cut it lengthwise and discard the seeds.
  • Apply a little salt and keep aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze to get rid of all the bitter juices and rinse it under running water.
  • While using this bitter gourd in recipes, add less salt than usual because the marinated bitter gourd is sure to retain some of the salt.
  • You can reduce the bitterness further by cooking the bitter gourd with neutralizing vegetables like onion and potato or adding ingredients like sugar or jaggery.
  • When you buy pavakkai try not to get dark green ones
  • Usually bitter guard based recipes call for more oil, somehow it does the magic use at least 1 tbsp of oil for any bittergaurd based curry 

Health Tips: 

  • Bitter gourd has multiple health benefits. It is mostly consumed for triggering the blood sugar level. Diabetes is a common ailment that affects many people today. Regular intake of bitter gourd juice helps prevent the rise of blood sugar levels. It also helps cure insulin resistance without taking any external medication.
  • Consuming bitter melon can help you get rid of acne, blemishes anddeep skin infections.
  • Bitter melon helps in easy digestion as it contains fiber properties. The food is digested and the waste is thrown out of the body which helps in curing indigestion and constipation problems
  • Bitter melon helps to maintain a healthy liver and bladder. It is also useful in curing kidney stones
  • Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. By fighting and eliminating the harmful free radicals, it helps to prevent wrinkles by slowing down the aging process. It also protects the skin from damage by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Bitter melon contains antioxidants that help to flush out your system. This improves your metabolism and digestive systems, thus helping youlose weight quickly.

Pavakkai Kozhambu proves that even a bitter veggie can serve us with great taste!! Other Kozhambus’ worth trying: Vendakkai More Kuzhambu , Ennai Kathirikai Kulambu,  Prawns Kuzhambu with Onion Tomato and Coconut, Meen Kulambu, Prawn Pepper Garlic Kuzhambu, Sweet Potato Kara Kuzhambu, Murungakai Poricha Kuzhambu and a lot more… Enjoy!!

To try this dish, do click on the below link for detailed recipe:


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