This Air fryer bitter gourd chips will turn you into a Bitter gourd lover and you will keep coming back for more.
Bitter gourd also known as Bitter melon, Pavakkai (in Tamil) and Karela (in Hindi), is one of our favorite vegetables. We grow a lot of them during summer. They are very easy to grow and the plants bear a lot of fruit. This Bitter Gourd Chips in Air Fryer is the best recipe to use up a lot of homegrown pavakkai / bitter melon. These chips are so delicious and making them in air fryer makes it a guilt free snack.
For the second day of BM theme, I am making recipe from the Chozha Nadu / Chola Nadu. This region includes my ancestral town, Tanjore along with other towns like Ariyalur, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Tiruchirapalli and Thiruvarur.
Even though this Pavakkai Varuval or Pavakkai Chips is famous in other regions as well, my memories are attached with my family. This bitter gourd chips is a important recipe made for the yearly ancestral ceremony. I have always loved the crunchy and slightly bitter chips with my Rasam Rice.
I have another version of Bitter gourd chips which is deep fried. So I adapted to a slightly different recipe and coated it with chick peas flour, rice flour and corn starch and added some heat to it.
Why use the Air Fryer –
Then I air fried the bitter gourds and it came out perfectly crunchy and delicious. It took no effort from my side other than carefully slicing the bitter gourds into roundels and removing the center seed. Now what are the kids for? I put my boys into full use and they helped me remove the center fibrous part of the pavakkai. I just used about couple of tablespoons of oil to brush my chips. Trust me that is nothing compared to how much the bitter gourd absorbs oil when fried the traditional way.
How to take the Bitter out of the Bitter Gourd –
Bitter gourd is a vegetable that is naturally bitter. Though it is impossible to completely remove all the bitterness, we can remove it to certain extent. There are couple of ways that I follow. One of the method is soaking the sliced bitter gourd in tamarind water. That is what I used here. I also use dilute buttermilk to soak the bitter gourd. This also helps in removing the bitterness to certain extent.
Check out my other bitter gourd recipes here –
- Pavakkai Chips / Bitter gourd chips (deep fried)
- Bitter gourd stew / Pavakkai Pitlai
- Pavakkai Podi / Spiced Bitter gourd Powder
- Pavakkai Urugai / Bitter gourd Pickle
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – about 20 minutes
Difficulty level – Easy / Beginner
Ingredients to make Bitter Gourd Chips in Air Fryer – Serves 6
- Bitter Gourd / Pavakkai / Karela – 6 medium
- Chickpeas flour / Besan – 3 TBSP
- Rice Flour – 3 TBSP
- Corn Starch – 1 1/2 TBSP
- Salt – to taste
- Red chili powder – 2 Tsp (adjust base on your spice preference)
- Oil – 2 TBSP
- Tamarind Pulp – 1 tsp or tamarind water squeezed from a lemon size tamarind ball
Procedure to make Bitter Gourd Chips in Air Fryer-
- Trim the edges off the bitter gourd and slice them into even sized thin circles. Once all the bitter gourd is sliced, start removing the center fibrous part that has the seeds.
- Mix the tamarind pulp with enough water to soak the sliced bitter gourds. Also add a tsp of salt to the tamarind water. If you are using fresh tamarind, soak it in hot water and then remove the pulp. Use this water to soak the bitter gourd.
- Let the bitter gourd soak for at least half an hour.
- Squeeze the bitter gourd out of the soaking liquid and place them in a bowl. Make sure that you remove as much as moisture as possible. Placing the squeezed pieces on a paper towel will help as well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil to the bowl. Mix everything well using your hands.
- Preheat the air fryer at 370 F for about 3 minutes.
- Spray or brush the tray of the air fryer with oil and place the bitter gourds. Make sure that you don’t crowd them too much. They can be on top of each other but just make sure that you don’t layer them too much.
- Air fry them at 370 F for about 15 minutes. Check on them every 5 minutes and toss them around. This is when we will also brush the bitter gourds with some oil.
- Depending on the size of the bitter gourd, the thickness of the slices, the timings will change. Make sure you keep tossing them around for even frying.
Notes and Observation –
- The amount of the flours might vary a bit depending on how much of bitter gourd we use. The sizes of the gourds vary and hence use your judgement. The flours should coat them just enough.
- I would highly recommend brushing the bitter gourds with oil when tossing. This gives them a nice glossy look.
- Check on the chips frequently. Do not just set the timings and leave.
- The bitter gourd might clump up a bit. Break them apart when tossing.