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Pavakka thokku

Pavakkai thokku Gojju / bitter gourd curry

Pavakkai thokku, a tasty,spicy and tangy tamarind based bitter gourd curry with video and pictures.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal



  • 1 big bitter gourd
  • 2 big onions
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 Red Chillies
  • 4 garlic pods
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt or as required
  • 1 tomato sized tamarind
  • Water as required
  • 1 tbsp jaggery powder

To season:

  • 4 tbsp gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds/ methi seeds



  • Wash the bitter gourd thoroughly with running water.
  • Cut and remove the seeds.
  • Chop it finely. You can make fine slits as shown and then chop them to get fine small pieces.
  • Soak tamarind in warm water and extract thick tamarind water/juice. Keep aside.
  • Chop onions and tomatoes finely.
  • Crush garlic pods.

Recipe to make pavakkai thokku:

  • Heat gingelly oil in a pan; add mustard jeera seeds and fenugreek seeds.
  • Let the mustard splutter and fenugreek/methi seeds turn to golden brown.
  • Add chopped onions and curry leaves and fry them nicely in oil.
  • Also add chopped green chillies, slit red chillies and crushed garlic pods.
  • Saute everything nicely until you get a nice aroma from chillies and garlic.
  • Now put chopped tomatoes and fry with onions.
  • Let the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
  • Add salt required for this thokku at this stage. This helps tomatoes to cook fast.
  • Now add turmeric and chilli powders. Mix with masala.
  • Add chopped bitter gourd and saute well.
  • Let the vegetable absorb the spices for some 5 minutes. Keep sauteing to avoid burning the bottom.
  • Add some water (approx. half cup) to cook the spices with vegetable.
  • When the bitter gourd is almost 3/4th cooked add thick tamarind extract.
  • Let the vegetable cook in tamarind water until it shrinks in quantity. Stir often, No need to close the lid. As we have chopped finely, the vegetable gets cooked fast.
  • After around ten minutes the tamarind water thickens and pavakkai absorbs tanginess along with spices.
  • The curry should have thick thokku consistency and not watery. Keep on stove in medium flame until you achieve that stage.
  • At last, when the oil separates and floats on top of thokku, add powdered jaggery and mix.
  • Switch off after two minutes.
  • Serve with hot rice with potato fry or simply papad. This pavakkai thokku/gojju tastes great with dosa and chapati also.



Tips: 1. Adding jaggery enhances the tanginess of the thokku and you can avoid if you don’t like. 2. Adjust spice level based on your taste. 3. Use only gingelly oil as this gives excellent taste.


Calories: 100kcal
Keyword bitter gourd spicy curry, karela curry, pavakkai thokku
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