No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Healthy Pavakkai Fry. (Healthy BitterGourd Fry )

Healthhy Pavakkai Fry.
Healthhy Pavakkai Fry.

Bitter gourd predominantly grows in tropical areas, including parts of Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean, and South America, where it is used both as food as well as a medicine. The plant’s fruit truly lives up to its name, because it really tastes bitter. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of this fruit have different uses, the fruit is considered as the safest and most predominantly used part of the plant.

The lowly Bitter Gourd has the following beneficial aspects:

– Helps to disinfect and heal cuts, wounds & burns

– Is useful as a cough & fever remedy

– Used in the treatment of intestinal worms and diarrhea

– Helps prevent some types of cancers

– Helps enhance the body’s immune system to ward off infections

– Serves as an effective antioxidant, antibacterial & antipyretic agent

(Courtesy –Health Benefits of  Bittergourd By Vanessa A. Doctor )

As a child, since the bittergourd was almost a bi-weekly addition to our food, I actually started liking it., I used to ask my mom to serve it along with curd rice, so I could conceal the bitterness inside the sourness of the curd. After many days, I realised that I actually started enjoying the taste. In my opinion, when cooked well, and spiced sufficiently, the bitterness ceases to be a detterant – it simple transforms to another taste just like sweet and i dont notice it anymore. I do NOT actually fry it till it turns black with a lot of oil. I simply cook it with a little oil, and some water so its more of a wholesome side.


3 fresh bitter gourds.



1 spoon Red Chilli Powder


Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal & Curry Leaves.


  • Chop the bitter gourd in to small pieces after discarding the inner soft flesh with the seeds. Set aside on a plate.
  • In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and season with mustard, broken urad  dhal  and the  curry leaves.
  • Immediately add the chopped pieces of bittergourd and add salt, turmeric, hing and required red chilli powder.
  • Mix well and sprinkle a few drops of water and allow to cook over a medium low flame with stirring now and then.
  • If you feel its too dry, feel free to add another spoon of oil.
  • When well cooked switch off and serve with Venthaya Kuzhambu and appalam.

No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Venthaya Kuzhambu – (Healthy Methi and spices in tamarind gravy).

Delicious Venthaya Kuzhambu.
Delicious Venthaya Kuzhambu.

Venthaya Kuzhambu is a healthy quick preparation amma makes over the weekend after a month when I come home from the hostel. I would return home hungry for home cooked food and amma would pamper me with simple Venthaya Kuzhambu. Its quick, easy and utterly delicious. Since the main ingredient is only methi (fenugreek) the final taste is completely different from the regular preparations.

I remember fenugreek to be a very important ingredient for my grandfather who had blood sugar. Madurai amma would soak a poon of methi every night in water and he would drink it first thing in the morning. That helped to a large extent to keep his blood sugar at a controllable level. Fenugreek is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is also used in the treatment of reproductive disorders in women.

In this recipe you would be amazed at the flavour bursting out of a preparation with so few ingredients. ….Here it goes…


1 1/2 – 2 cups tamarind juice extracted.

3-4 red chillies

1 spoon of bengal gram.

1 1/2 spoons of methi seeds.

Salt according to taste.



A spoon of cooked toor dhal (Optional)

A spoon of rice flour.

Curry Leaves.


  • Dry roast the fenugreek on a medium low flame on a kadai, until you smell the aroma of the seeds. Do not allow to brown too much. Powder in the mixer to a coarse powder and set aside.
  • In a kadai, add 2-3 spoons of oil and when its hot, add bengal gram, and 3-4 red chillies and allow to roast for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the mustard and when it splutters, add the crushed curry leaves and immediately the tamarind juice.
  • Add salt, turmeric, ground methi seeds powder, hing and allow to slowly boil on a medium low flame.
  • After about 20 minutes or so, when the gravy has been reduced, and becomes a little thick, reduce the flame.
  • Mix 1/3 cup of water in the spoon of rice flour and mix briskly to dissolve clots. Also add the spoon of cooked toor dhal to bring it to a smooth homogenous consistency.
  • Pour this in to the kadai and mix well and allow to boil for a few more minutes.  (Consistency should be as shown in the pic.)
  • Delicious Venthaya Kuzhambu is ready to be served with Pavakkai Fry and Appalam.

Serving Suggestion:

Venthaya Kuzhambu is served mixed with steaming hot rice, adding 1 spoon of ghee or gingely oil to enhance the flavours of the gravy, already spiced to perfection. Best with Appalam and Alu Fry or Pavakkai Fry. I always feel it tastes best the next day as the spices have soaked in te tamarind gravy all day long!!!



Everyday Menu 1.

Today I was especially enthused to cook my bitter gourd and hence the menu for lunch was

Venthaya Kuzhambu,

Pavakkai Fry and spicy

Manga Curry for curd rice.

It was one of those rare days when I wanted to finish up cooking quickly and spend some time with myself – doing some thing, anything that I enjoy – reading a favourite book, listening to a favourite song, praying, or curling up my toes and looking out at the lake outside….