Pavakkai Pitlai / Bitter Gourd Black Eyed Peas Sambar

BitterGourdBlackeyedPeasPitlai

Pitlai is an authentic and traditional sambar variety prepared with veggies like Brinjal or Bitter Gourd or Cluster Beans and with legumes. Traditionally black/brown chick peas are used but you can also use any legumes that you have in hand. Also for pitlai instead of sambar powder we use fresh ground coconut masala. Today’s I am presenting pitlai, prepared with bitter gourd and black eyed peas.

PaharkaiPitlai

Like how Orange Peel Kuzhambu is a cousin to Puli Kuzhambu, Pitlai is cousin to arichu vitta sambar and the sibling of Tiruvadirai Seven Veggie Sambar. (Thanks Nalini, for introducing me these relations among the sambars. lol) Every time friends used to ask me here in US that how can I prepare sambar every day? Just to explain the different varieties, I wrote this post last year – About Sambar. I wish there could be an English word to say Kuzhambu. IMO or I classify sambar into three broad categories based on how we prepare in our household, (Again each and every family have their own traditional recipes)

  1. Ariachu Vitta Sambar – Basically all sambar that uses fresh ground masala and toor dal. Coconut becomes mandatory.
  2. Paruppu Kuzhambu / Sambar – For this we use toor dal but we use sambar podi and don’t go with fresh masala. Coconut is not mandatory.
  3. Puli Kuzhambu – This in turn has zillion varieties but basically we don’t use toor dal here as in like sambar. But the masala and addition of coconut/coconut milk differs for each and every Kuzhambu.

KarelaPitlai

Then we have Gojju/Pachadi, Gothsu and avial (I don’t know if its kootu or sambar, as we mix with rice and also use it as side I categorize under both). See, this list goes on and on and on. This is my 22nd recipe under the category sambar.

Ok, I am done with my ruminations. Here is the recipe….

Ingredients:

  • Bitter Gourd – 5 (small sized)
  • Black Eyed beans  – 1/4 cup  
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
  • Water – for steaming bitter gourd + 2 cups for boiling dal and 1 cup for mixing tamarind
  • Toor dhal – 1/2 cup 
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – around 1 tbsp

To Roast and Grind:

  • Dhaniya – 1/4 cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5
  • Kadala Paruppu / Channa Dal – 3tbsps
  • Methi seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal – 2 tsps
  • Grated Coconut – 1/4 cup

For Tempering:

  • Oil – 2 tsps
  • Mustard seeds – 2 tsps
  • Methi seeds – 1 tsp
  • Hing – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves  & Cilantro for garnish

Prep work:

  • If you are using dried beans soak them for 2 to 3hrs or overnight.
  • If your are using tamarind soak it water and extract the juice. If you are using the paste, mix it 1 cup of water and set aside.
  • Pressure cook the 1/2 cup of toor dal with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder.
  • Let it cool down and mash it well.

MashedDal

  • Pressure cook  beans for 2 whistles or you can microwave them. 

PitlayStep2

  • Cut the bitter gourd into two halves and remove all the seeds and chop them.
  • Microwave them for about 5 minutes and make sure they are al-dente and not mushy.

PitlaiStep1

  • Dry roast all the ingredients given under roast and grind and grind them by adding 1/2 cup of water and set aside.

PitlaiMasalaPitlaiMasala1

Method:

  • Heat the kadai or the heavy bottom vessel and add oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, methi seeds and hing.
  • As they start to splutter, add the microwaved bitter gourd and black eyed peas.
  • Now add the tamarind water, salt and mix well. Let it simmer.

PitlaiStep3

  • As it starts to simmer, add the ground masala and and mix well.

PitlaiStep4

  • Let it simmer again for couple of minutes and then add the mashed toor dal mixture.
  • Check for salt at this stage and if required add more.
  • Mix well and let it cook for 5 more minutes and turn of the heat. Pitlai is comparatively thicker than sambhar. So let it simmer till it thickens.
  • Finally add the cilantro and curry leaves.

PitlaiStep5

Notes:

PaavaikaiPitlai

  • Bitter gourd can be replaced with cluster beans or brinjal.
  • Similarly black eyed peas can be replaced with brown chick peas or garbanzo beans or beans of your choice.
  • My MIL adds 1 tsp of sambar powder and that gives it more darker color and also adds spice. You can adjust the spice level either by adding more red chillies or sambar powder.

Pavakkai Pitlai / Bitter Gourd Black Eyed Peas Sambar
Pitlai is an authentic and traditional sambar variety prepared with veggies and legumes. For this I am using bitter gourd and black eyed peas.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. Bitter Gourd - 5 (small sized)
  2. Black Eyed beans - 1/4 cup
  3. Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
  4. Water - for steaming bitter gourd + 2 cups for boiling dal and 1 cup for mixing tamarind
  5. Toor dhal - 1/2 cup
  6. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Salt - around 1 tbsp
To Roast and Grind
  1. Dhaniya - 1/4 cup
  2. Dried red chillies - 5
  3. Kadala Paruppu / Channa Dal - 3tbsps
  4. Methi seeds - 1 tsp
  5. Urad Dal - 2 tsps
  6. Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
For Tempering
  1. Oil - 2 tsps
  2. Mustard seeds - 2 tsps
  3. Methi seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Hing - 1 tsp
  5. Curry leaves & Cilantro for garnish
Prep work
  1. If you are using dried beans soak them for 2 to 3hrs or overnight.
  2. If your are using tamarind soak it water and extract the juice. If you are using the paste, mix it 1 cup of water and set aside.
  3. Pressure cook the 1/2 cup of toor dal with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder.
  4. Let it cool down and mash it well.
  5. Pressure cook beans for 2 whistles or you can microwave them.
  6. Cut the bitter gourd into two halves and remove all the seeds and chop them.
  7. Microwave them for about 5 minutes and make sure they are al-dente and not mushy.
  8. Dry roast all the ingredients given under roast and grind and grind them by adding 1/2 cup of water and set aside.
Method
  1. Heat the kadai or the heavy bottom vessel and add oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, methi seeds and hing.
  3. As they start to splutter, add the microwaved bitter gourd and black eyed peas.
  4. Now add the tamarind water, salt and mix well. Let it simmer.
  5. As it starts to simmer, add the ground masala and and mix well.
  6. Let it simmer again for couple of minutes and then add the mashed toor dal mixture.
  7. Check for salt at this stage and if required add more.
  8. Mix well and let it cook for 5 more minutes and turn of the heat. Pitlai is comparatively thicker than sambhar. So let it simmer till it thickens.
  9. Finally add the cilantro and curry leaves.
Notes
  1. Bitter gourd can be replaced with cluster beans or brinjal.
  2. Similarly black eyed peas can be replaced with brown chick peas or garbanzo beans or beans of your choice.
  3. My MIL adds 1 tsp of sambar powder and that gives it more darker color and also adds spice. You can adjust the spice level either by adding more red chillies or sambar powder.
Vidhya’s Vegetarian Kitchen http://www.vidhyashomecooking.com/
That’s it. The sambhar is ready.

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32 thoughts on “Pavakkai Pitlai / Bitter Gourd Black Eyed Peas Sambar

    • oh wow.. you grew them here in US kya? Amazing. Traditionally check peas are added buy my love towards black eyed peas made me add it for pitlai too. Thanks Sandhya.

  1. I am glad to announce that I am recent fan of bitter gourd :D I would love to try out Pitlai sometime. I have never tried it when amma makes it but now that I can handle the bitterness, I am going to give it a try. Beautiful pictures Sri!

  2. usha

    Pitlai looks delicious and thanks for simplifying the sambar varieties. I always get confused when I visit some of the Tamil blogs.

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