Pavakkai Kadalai Paruppu Varuval or Bitter gourd Chana Dal Fry

Pavakkai Kadalai Paruppu Varuval is a sauté made with bitter gourd, onion, tomato as the major ingredients. With the addition of chana dal or kadalai paurppu that is cooked al dente makes this varuval different and tastier.

Pavakkai Kadalai Paruppu Varuval

This varuval is a recipe which I learnt from my mom. This used to be and is still my favorite recipe when it comes to Bitter gourd. As a school going kid, Pavakkai Varuval mixed with steamed rice used to be my favorite lunch box menu. The bitterness of the gourd combined with the sweetness of well sautéed onion and tomatoes and ginger-garlic-fennel paste and mixed with chana dal gives a very nice taste to this varuval.

If you are a bitter gourd lover, you would definitely fall in love with the taste of this preparation.


Pavakkai or Bitter gourd – 350 gms or 4 medium sized
Chana dal or Kadalai Paruppu – 50 gms or about 4 tbspns
Onion – 1 big
Tomato – 1 big
Ginger – 1”
Garlic – 8 cloves
Sombu or Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves few
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste

To temper
Oil – 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp


Preparation time – 10 mins (excluding cooking chana dal)
Cooking time – 15-20 mins
Total time – 30 mins

  1. Cook chana dal till al dente. You can either pressure cook it for a whistle or cook in an open pan. You should be able to press the dal with your hand when pressed.
  2. Finely chop onion and tomato and coarsely crush ginger, garlic and fennel seeds. Slice the bitter gourds into thin roundels.
  3. Heat oil in a pan; add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add urad dal and let it turn golden brown. Turn on the heat to medium.
  4. Add onions and curry leaves and cook till onions turn pink.
  5. Add the tomatoes along with the coarsely crushed ginger-garlic-fennel. Fry until tomatoes turns mushy.
  6. Add the sliced gourds along with the chilli, coriander and turmeric powders and salt. Toss well and add water just enough for the veggies to cook. Cover and cook till the gourds are soft.
  7. Once done, add the cooked chana dal or kadalai paruppu and mix. Cook for another 5 mins till everything combines well and serve.

Serve the Pavakkai Kadalai Paruppu Varuval with steamed rice and sambar or rasam or curds. This varuval also makes a good accompaniment to hot and soft phulkas.

My family loves to have steamed rice mixed with this varuval. Rice mixed with varuval also makes a perfect lunch box menu along with pappads or appalam or chips or plain curds.

Pavakkai Kadalai Paruppu Varuval


  1. Cook the chana dal only till al dente and not mushy. You should be able to press it when pressed using your index finger and thumb.
  2. I do not discard the pith and seeds and cut the bittergourd with them in tact. You can discard it if you prefer not using it.
  3. Cook this varuval on low to medium heat. If you feel the oil is less, add one or two tbspns and sauté well.
  4. This varuval remains fresh if stored in the fridge for 2 days.