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Bitter gourd pickle in a white bowl with oil dripping on the side
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5 from 11 votes

Pavakkai Urukkai

Pickles are a great way to extend the summer harvested vegetables and this Bitter gourd pickle also known as Pavakkai Urukkai is no different. A wonderful and tangy / spicy pickle made with freshly harvested bitter melon is a great side to serve with rice or Idli / dosai.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: pickles, spices and condiments
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 56kcal


  • pan
  • Knife
  • Stove


  • 2 cups Pavakkai / bitter Gourd / bitter melon chopped
  • 4 tablespoon Oil I use gigelly oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tamarind paste or thick tamarind extract ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoon Jaggery or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon Red chili powder this was medium spicy for us, adjust based on your spice preference
  • ¼ teaspoon Asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon Roasted fenugreek powder
  • to taste Salt


  • Cut the bitter gourd vertically and remove all the seeds from the center. Use a spoon to scrape the flesh and the seeds. Now chop the bitter gourd finely and wash it well.
  • To the chopped bitter gourd add about ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Keep it aside for about 30 mins.
  • After 30 mins, you will notice that the bitter gourd has let out lot of water. Squeeze the water out of the melon.
  • In another pan, heat the oil. Season with mustard seeds, asafetida and ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder. Also add the red chili powder.
  • Now add the chopped bitter gourd / pavakkai and saute until the vegetable softens a bit.
  • Add the tamarind extract, brown sugar and salt. Let it come to a boil and let the pavakkai cook entirely. Also the bitter gourd pickle will start to thicken and come together.
  • Add the fenugreek powder at this stage and take it off the flame. Do not cook too long after the fenugreek powder is added, since it will become bitter.
  • Let it cool down and then store in an airtight container.
  • Enjoy the Pavakkai Urukkai with curd rice, idli, dosa or roti!


Expert tips and FAQ's
  • Sprinkle the bittergourd with turmeric powder and salt and squeeze out the liquid to remove some of its bitterness.
  • Cooking it in tamarind water also helps in balancing the bitterness.
  • Do not skip the brown sugar / jaggery. One more factor to balance the bitterness of the vegetable.
  • Like any pickle, store the pickle in an air tight and clean bottle. Always use fresh, moisture free spoon to remove the pickle from the jar. This helps in extending the shelf life of the pickle.


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg