Pavakkai varuval (Sweet and spicy Bitter gourd fry)

Sweet and spicy Bitter gourd fry (Pavakkai varuval)

Sweet and spicy Bitter gourd fry, Pavakkai Varuval is Bitter gourd stir fry recipe of South India.

Pavakkai or bitter gourd is one of the healthiest vegetable and it is also not everyones favorite because of its taste.

This is one of my favorite recipes to make bitter gourd and it tastes great with curd rice, rasam rice. Hope you like the recipe too. I love to eat this with Dal rice or rasam Rice.

I love how the sweetness from the onions and the sugar and the tartness from the raw mango power elevates the dish. If you wish to use tamarind instead of raw mango powder it will work perfectly in this recipe.

Pavakkai Varuval
Pavakkai Varuval

Sweet and spicy Bitter gourd fry


  • 1 large sized bitter gourd
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp Mustard Oil or any oil
  • 1/2 table spoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder or amchur powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or jaggary
  • 3-4 tbsp Water
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder


  • Heat a pan on medium flame and add oil to it, add onions, and bitter gourd and add a bit of salt and turmeric to it and sauté them until the onions are slightly caramelized and the bitter gourd has shrunk in half.
  • Add the spice powders (red chilli, coriander, amchur or dry mango powder and add some water and cover and cook for a few minutes until the bitter gourd is cooked and absorbs all the flavors.
  • Finally add brown sugar or jaggary and mix it in and turn off the flame.
  • Serve it hot with rice or roti


It is important to cook the bitter gourd well before adding the spice powders.
Adding jaggary and dry mango powder gives the dish a sweet and tangy taste. If you don’t have dry mango powder, you can add tamarind extract to bring the tanginess.
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