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Kerala Bitter Gourd- Pavakka Kichadi Recipe | With Coconut & Yogurt

Fried bitter gourd in ground coconut & yogurt…

This is a Kerala vegetarian dish, one of the side dishes served in Sadya. There are a few Kerala vegetarian dishes that call for ground coconut & yogurt like Pulissery, Kichadi & Pachadi.

For making these dishes a variety of vegetables can be added like bitter gourd, okra, cucumber, beetroot, etc.

What is the difference between Pulissery, Kichadi & Pachadi???

For making pulissery, vegetables like beetroot, cucumber, okra or fruits like mango, pineapple, and ripe plantains can be used. First, the vegetables & fruits have to be cooked, and then ground coconut is added & cooked, finally yogurt is added along with the tempering (coconut oil, mustard seeds, dried red chilies & curry leaves). The requirement for pulissery is that the ground coconut has to be cooked.

Kichadi & Pachadi are almost similar with slight differences.

For making Kichadi, vegetables like bitter gourd & okra are fried, and then ground coconut is added along with yogurt & the tempering. While grinding coconut, mustard seeds are added for Kichadi. Ground coconut is not cooked.

Pachadi, Pacha in Malayalam means Raw. For making Pachadi, vegetables like cucumber, beetroot & bitter gourd can be used, they are not cooked. To the raw grated or chopped vegetables, ground coconut is added along with yogurt & the tempering. For Pachadi, while grinding coconut mustard seeds are not added.

I love all the Kerala & South Indian bitter gourd dishes, bitter gourd pulikari, bitter gourd theeyal in roasted coconut gravy, thoran, poriyal, kichadi, etc.

I made this Kichadi with bitter gourd, for making this I fried the bitter gourd that way we wouldn’t feel the bitter taste & then combined it with ground coconut & yogurt. Finally, topped with aromatic tempering.

A healthy vegetarian dish served with rice.

Bitter Gourd Theeyal- In Roasted Coconut Gravy Recipe, Click Here

Bitter Gourd Pulikari- Spicy Sweet Tangy Curry Recipe, Click Here

Bitter Gourd Kichadi

Kerala Bitter Gourd Kichadi Recipe - With Coconut & Yogurt
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 People
  • Bitter gourd, sliced- 2 cups
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ⅛ tsp
  • Green chili, chopped- 1
  • Salt- ½ tsp
  • To grind coconut
  • Grated coconut- ½ cup
  • Mustard seeds- ¼ tsp
  • Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
  • Yogurt- ¼ cup
  • For tempering
  • Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Dried whole red chilies- 2
  • Curry leaves- 6 leaves
  • Other ingredients
  • Yogurt- ½ cup
  1. I've sliced the bitter gourd to 2-inch slices.
  2. If using fresh bitter gourd, half it vertically & remove the seeds & the white pith.
  3. The seeds are extremely bitter so don't use them.
  4. To remove most of the bitterness from the bitter gourd, follow the below steps.
  5. You can cut the bitter gourd into rounds or slice them.
  6. Slice the bitter gourd & add to a bowl.
  7. Add ½ tsp salt & combine well, keep aside for 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes, squeeze the bitter gourd water will ooze out, discard the water it's very bitter.
  9. Try to squeeze out all the water, that way most of the bitterness can be removed.
  10. To the bitter gourd, add chili powder, turmeric powder, chopped green chili & salt, combine well.
  11. Place a frying pan over medium heat, add some coconut oil.
  12. Add the seasoned bitter gourd & fry till they turn crispy & golden brown.
  13. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, keep them aside.
  14. To a blender jar, add grated coconut, mustard seeds, cumin seeds & yogurt, grind to a smooth paste.
  15. Pour the ground coconut to the fried bitter gourd, combine well.
  16. In a bowl, take ½ cup yogurt & beat well using a spoon or fork.
  17. Add the yogurt to the bitter gourd & coconut mixture, combine well.
  18. Add salt & mix well.
  19. Keep it covered.
  20. Place a small pan over medium heat.
  21. Add coconut oil, let turn hot.
  22. Add mustard seeds, let splutter.
  23. Add dried red chilies & curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
  24. Immediately, pour the tempering over the bitter gourd kichadi.
  25. Keep the kichadi covered for a few minutes, let the aroma from the tempering infuse into the kichadi.
  26. Serve this kichadi as a side dish along with rice.
  27. Instead of bitter gourd, you can add okra or lady's finger cut into round slices.





Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...