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Bitter Gourd Kichadi (Pavakka Pachadi)

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Bitter Gourd Kichadi/ Pachadi/ Pavakka Pachadi is a simple side dish prepared from bitter gourd, yogurt, and fresh coconut. It is one of the dishes prepared for Onam Sadya.

Pavakka Pachadi served in a brown designer bowl. Served in the background is some red matta rice.

This Kichadi can be done quickly and goes well with rice and roti. I enjoy it with red thick rice and it goes just perfectly as a main meal. It can also be served as a side.

A little about Bitter gourd

Bitter ground/Pavakka/karela/Karle as called in different languages in India is one of the most hated vegetables. It has a bitter taste and is not a favorite. But it has so much of nutrient value, that it must be added to your diet. 

When cooked the right way this bitter gourd veg can turn be added to your diet. It would be liked if not a favorite. Even for me eating this vegetable at times is difficult, but I try to make it in between. I like to make Bitter gourd chips, bharwa karela, or this Gujarati Karela Bateta Nu Shaak. This shaak balances the bitter flavor with the help of a slightly sweet potato and goes well with roti or rice.

Though I have tried to incorporate the traditional method in making this recipe, it might be different. I am not from the south or typically prepare sadya but I have made it a couple of times and have tasted various versions of this. At times even pearl onion/Shallot is added too, I have skipped it.

Pavakka Pachadi served in a brown designer bowl. Served in the background is some red matta rice.

Replacement for bitter gourd

Instead of Bitter gourd, one can add any veggies. Veggies like Bhindi, beetroot, and cucumber, can be added. Pineapple pachadi is also quite common and served for sadya.  

Recipe process of Bitter Gourd Kichadi (Pavakka Pachadi)

Removing the bitterness from bitter gourd

The first step is to remove the bitterness from the bitter gourd. For this, we rinse and cut the bitter gourd. Remove the seeds and chop them to bite size pieces. Add a little salt and leave it for 30 minutes. This will help release the water from the bitter gourd as well as remove the bitter taste. 

Shallow Frying in oil

Next is to shallow fry them in coconut oil. One can use any oil, but coconut oil enhances the flavour and is typically used. I have shallow-fried this and not deep-fried it. One can deep fry the bitter gourd too.

Paste of Fresh coconut and mustard seeds and adding of yogurt

A paste of fresh coconut and mustard seeds is made and added to the above-fried bitter gourd. It is then sauteed for a few minutes. The above mixture is then allowed to cool. Fresh beaten yogurt is added to the above mix. 


The above is all mixed together and a tempering of oil, chili, mustard seeds, and curry leaves is done and added to the yogurt beetroot khichadi. 

Serving Suggestions 

That’s it, it’s done. One can serve it as is or allow it to cool. Serve it with rice or roti.

Pavakka Pachadi served in a brown designer bowl. Served in the background is some red matta rice.

I am sharing this post with our Shhh Cooking Secretly group, where the theme of this month was recipes for Sadya announced by Priya Vijaykrishnan from Sweet Spicy Tasty. Sujata Roy from Batter up with Sujata gave me, coconut oil and green chili as the secret ingredients and I decided to make this Bitter Gourd Kichadi. I gave her Black pepper and turmeric and she made this healthy Kootu Curry.

Pavakka Pachadi served in a brown designer bowl. Served in the background is some red matta rice.
Bitter Gourd Kichadi
Pavakka Pachadi served in a brown designer bowl. Served in the background is some red matta rice.

Bitter Gourd Kichadi/ Pachadi/ Pavakka Pachadi

Bitter Gourd Kichadi/ Pachadi/ Pavakka Pachadi is a simple side dish prepared from bitter gourd, yogurt, and fresh coconut for Onam Sadya.
5 from 10 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: Vegetables
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre


  • 2 Bitter gourd – 1 Cup when Chopped
  • 1 Cup yogurt/curd

Cooking of Bitter gourd

  • 1 teaspoon salt – To remove bitterness
  • 2 tablespoon oil – For Shallow Frying
  • 1-2 Green Chilli Optional

Coconut paste Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds


  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1-2 red chili


Removing the bitterness

  • Rinse and pat dry the bitter gourd.
    2 Bitter gourd – 1 Cup when Chopped
  • Discard the ends and give a slit in between.
  • Remove the seeds of the bitter gourd.
    Removing seeds from Bitter gourd.
  • Chop it into bite-size pieces.
    Chopped Bitter gourd.
  • Add salt and mix and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, squeeze the bitter gourd in between your hands.
  • This will remove all the bitter water.
  • Once done rinse the bitter gourd thoroughly and drain all the excess water by squeezing it again in between your hands.

Making of paste of coconut.

  • In a blender add fresh coconut.
    ¼ Cup fresh grated coconut
  • Add mustard seeds and make a fine paste.
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Keep it aside.

Shallow frying the bitter gourd

  • In a heavy bottom pan add oil.
    2 tablespoon oil – For Shallow Frying
    Oil added to a cooking pan.
  • Once hot add green chili if using.
    1-2 Green Chilli
  • Now add the chopped bitter gourd and cook the bitter gourd on slow to medium stirring in between.
    Pavakka and green chili added t o oil.
  • Cook till the bitter gourd is tender or starts turning brown. I cooked it until it just started turning brown as it adds a nice crunch.
    Pavakka getting cooked.
  • Now add the ground coconut paste and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    Adding of coconut and mustard paste to bitter gourd.
  • Switch off and let it cool.

Adding of yogurt

  • Beat the yogurt to a smooth paste.
    1 Cup yogurt/curd
  • If required add water. Do not add much as the bitter gourd will release water.
  • Once the bitter gourd and coconut mixture is cooled add yogurt.
    Adding of yogurt in the mixture.
  • Add required salt and mix everything.
    1 teaspoon salt – To remove bitterness


  • In a tempering pan or a heavy bottom pan add oil.
    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    Oil in a tempering pan.
  • Once hot add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
    ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
    Adding of mustard seeds in oil.
  • Once it sputters add curry leaves and red chili.
    8-10 curry leaves, 1-2 red chili
    Tempering with Curry leaves and mustard seeds and Red chili.
  • Saute for a few seconds.
  • Add this tempering to the mixture and you are done.


  • Standard US Size cups are used.
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Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

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5 from 10 votes
Recipe Rating

Sasmita Sahoo

Friday 1st of September 2023

Bitter gourd pachadi sounds so flavourful !!!! A must-try for karela lovers like me.....

Sujata Roy

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Bitter gourd pachadi looks super tempting Renu. Never tasted it. Coconut, mustard and yogurt definitely enhance the taste of bitter gourd and reduce the bitterness. I can imagine the wonderful flavour and taste. Bookmarking this recipe to try.


Sunday 27th of August 2023

I love bitter gourds and love these kichado as well. I think the bitterness of this vegetable reduces with yogurt and it can be tried by someone who hates the vegetable.


Friday 25th of August 2023

I have never made pachadi with bitter gourd and with your delicious step by step recipe, I am making this soon. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Jayashree T Rao

Sunday 20th of August 2023

A good way to include bitter gourd in our diet. The addition of coconut gives a good taste too.