Pagarkai Varuval

Here’s a very quick recipe for all pagarkai/bitter-gourd lovers! It’s one of my favorite way to prepare this vegetable as it’s easy to prepare and goes so well with Sambar or Rasam rice! Its taste is very close to pagarkai fry but consumes lesser oil in comparison!



  • 4 pagarkais/bitter-gourds
  • 2 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste (extra salt to soak the sliced vegetable)
  • 3 tbsp oil


  • Slice the pagarkai and soak it in salt water for 15 mins. Drain the water just before cooking.
  • In a frying pan, pour oil, when medium hot, add the vegetable. Lower the flame and allow it to gradually cook, sauteing it once in five mins.
  • Once the vegetable reduces to half it’s earlier quantity, add salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and coriander powder. Give it a good mix.
  • Cook for another five mins and your varuval is ready!

More pagarkai recipes here and here =)


Vazhakkai Poriyal/Raw Banana Stir-Fry

Here’s another South Indian item which pairs amazingly with sambar/rasam rice!


  • 3 raw bananas
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil for tempering
  • Salt to taste
To Grind
  • 1/3 cup fresh coconut chopped
  • 2 tsp saunf
  • 1 green chilly
  • Peel the skin of the raw banana, chopped them and boil it in water with 1tsp oil for 5 minutes until it slightly softens. Drain the water and keep aside.
  • In a frying pan, heat oil and add urad dal. When the urad dal begins to change color, immediately add the mustard seeds. As the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the onions, curry leaves and red chillies. Saute for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the turmeric powder and salt to the onions and mix well.
  • Now add the raw boiled banana. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes on low flame stirring occasionally.
  • In the meantime grind the ingredients listed into a coarse paste.
  • Add the coconut paste to the banana. Mix well. Cook for two minutes.