Crispy Pavakka Fry

Pavakka Fry is special dish enjoyed by almost all Keralites.  The crispy Pavakka fry is part of the daily lunch in most homes and the fresh light green Kerala Bitter Gourd has less bitterness compared to the dark green ones. My mom is an expert with Pavakka (Bitter Gourd/Karela), and her Bitter Gourd thoran, Pavakka Pachadi, Pavakka Theeyal, Pavakka fry and Pavakka pickle are well enjoyed by most of our friends and relatives. Jibu is a diehard fan of mummy’s pavakka thoran and it took me almost 14 years to get some acknowledgement from Jibu in the pavakka dept. Well, it is hard to match mummys expertise, you will agree if you ever happen to taste her thoran. She has magic hands. What I have for you today is Pavakka fry, the crispy Bitter Gourd with fried onions and thengakothu(coconut).

Bitter Gourd can be bitter, no doubt, but the bitterness can be contained in many ways. Salt and chili in correct measures help to control it to a limit. For Bitter Gourd fry, mixing with curd and drying in sun is helpful as per my Granny. Well, all I can say is the bitterness is what makes this vegetable unique and I can happily eat it with just curd and rice. I have noticed that this is a coveted item in Christian wedding lunch menus these days. It also happens to be a favorite dish of Achachi (my FIL). It is also renowned for its health benefits. However, you need to wash it thoroughly (maybe keep a tooth brush just for this) and soak in water with little salt to remove any pesticide residue. Nostalgic memories of Pavakka fry with Kalan, Beef fry, Chicken Roast and cabbage thoran is flashing before my eyes when I am writing this. You may also like my Kovakka deep fry. Enjoy a hearty Kerala Lunch!


Pavakka (Bittergourd/ Karela): 2 nos
Green Chilly: 12 – 15 nos
Ginger: 1 small piece
Onion: 1-2 nos
Thengakothu: ½ cup
Curry leaves: few
Oil: for frying
Salt: as required

Pavakka Fry (Bitter Gourd) Ingradients

Pavakka Fry (Bitter Gourd) Ingradients


Wash and soak Bitter Gourd in water for one hour with salt. Wash again and clean the inside and cut into thin nice rounds or semi circles. Slit green chilies and chop ginger finely. Then add salt. Cover and cook on slow fire. Stir in between and again cover and cook till its color changes slightly. Slice the onions, and keep the thengakothu ready. Fry the thengakothu first into golden brown, drain. Then onion, then curry leaves and keep aside. Fry the pavakka till it turns into golden brown. Mix everything together and serve.


  • Bitter Gourd needs more salt to balance the bitterness.
  • The flame should not be reduced or the ingredients will absorb oil and will not be crispy.
  • Add a small pinch of salt while frying onion.
  • Curry leaves should not be burned. Drain when the popping sound stops.

Have a great lunch with delicious pavakka fry, moru, thoran and some spicy dish. God Bless!!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Sharing is Caring!

Share this recipe with your friends!