Theeyal is a staple dish in south indian cuisine.It is nothing but thick gravy of tamarind extract and spiced roasted coconut cooked along with some vegetables.we can prepare many versions of theeyal changing the main ingredient of the recipe.This is served with rice along with any mild vegetable stir fry .Popular theeyal recipes are Ulli theeyal/shallots theeyal/drumstick theeyal/bitter gourd theeyal etc.

You can expect many unique varieties of theeyal in this blog very soon.

Bitter gourd has so many nutritional benefits.But the real challenge lies on reducing bitterness .Marinating the chopped bitter gourd with some salt and squeezing out the excess moisture helps to reduce bitterness to a great extend.

Try this recipe it tastes heavenly while cooked with spicy coconut masala.

Here’s the recipe :


Bitter gourd -2 medium sized


Oil-1&1/2 tbsp


Grated Coconut -1/2 cup



cumin seeds – 1tsp

Dry red chillies -4

curry leaves -1 sprig

coconut oil -2 tbsp

Goose berry sized Tamarind soaked in hot water.

Turmeric powder-1/4th tsp

Chilli powder -2 tsp

Coriander powder -1&1/2 tsp


  • Rinse off bitter gourd and deseed them.Cut them in roundels or cut into small pieces .
  • Marinate it with enough salt and mix well.Keep aside for 20 minutes.
  • Heat some oil in a pan ,add grated coconut, shallots ,garlic ,cumin seeds ,curry leaves, dry red chillies etc. saute it well until coconut turns brown colour.
  • Once it changes it’s colour add spices(turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder etc.) by keeping flame very low.
  • Saute it well.switch off the flame once masala starts to generate a nice aroma.keep it aside for a while and let it cool well.
  • Grind it by adding soaked tamarind and half a cup of water.Make a fine smooth paste out of it.
  • Squeeze and discard the moisture from bitter gourd.Bitterness will get reduced to the max by this way.
  • Heat a pan and add some coconut oil ,add squeezed out small bitter gourd pieces.Fry this for 3-4 minutes on a medium flame ,wait until it’s colour changes slightly.
  • Next add ground coconut masala.Water is added to the mixture to adjust the thickness of the gravy.
  • Add salt and bring this to boil for few minutes .
  • Delicious Bitter gourd theeyal will be ready to serve.


Take 2 medium sized bitter gourd and chop them into small pieces.Mix it with some salt and keep aside for 20 minutes.Later squeeze it out well remove excess moisture.

Soak tamarind in a bowl .Prepare masala for grinding by roasting coconut with some flavorful spices.

Fry coconut for few minutes in a medium flame.Once it’s texture and colour changes add Turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder etc. saute it well in a low flame.Let it cool down.

Heat some coconut oil in another pan, fry bitter gourd for few minutes till it becomes slightly crisp and pale in colour.

Grind roasted coconut with soaked tamarind and water.Make a smooth coconut paste .Add into fried bitter gourd and allow this to boil.

Add some salt ,simmer it and let it absorb all the flavors of masala.

Flavorful south indian pavakka theeyal is ready to serve !!!!!

This simple and easy south indian curry tastes best when served with Cabbage thoran ,beans thoran etc.