Paavakka Maanga Kulambu Recipe

On March 15, 2017

The cuisines found in the vast country India are dependent on the culture and religion of each region. The cuisines are also dependent on the unique locally available cooking ingredients. Take the southern part of India for example, you are bound to find coconuts added in most of their dishes as these can be found growing abundantly here. Of course, there is always the aspect of outside influence bearing in on the local cuisine; this influence could be due the colonial era or to the effect of ancient trading partners who influenced the taste buds of our earlier food connoisseurs. Of course with increasing globalization, the world cuisines are in the never-ending process of evolving and dispersing from their points of origin, with some traditional dishes dying out in the process and people absorbing in foreign cuisines. India was never a land of pizza, pasta or burgers, but ask the youth of today and these would be the only dishes they crave!

Then there are certain dishes that can be made during a specific part of the year only as the vegetables used may be seasonal and available only during some specific months. Take the traditional spicy Paavakka Maanga Kulambu dish, which can only be cooked during that part of the year when unripe mangoes and bitter gourds are available at the same time. This simple yet classy dish has the bitterness of bitter gourds, the tanginess of unripe mangoes as well as the sweetness of coconuts, not to mention the spiciness of the condiments added into the gravy. A perfect accompaniment to rice for a relaxing weekend lunch with the family!

Here’s the recipe for making this yummy dish.


Bitter gourd – 1, thinly sliced
Unripe Mango – 1, thinly sliced
Onion – 1/2, thinly sliced
Green chillies – 3, sliced
Ginger garlic – 1 tsp each, chopped
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 5 tsp
Chilly powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Thin coconut milk – 2 cups
Thick coconut milk – ½ cup
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Oil – as needed


Mix the turmeric, coriander and chilly powders to make a paste with water. Then sauté the pieces of bitter gourd, mango, chilly and ginger, garlic till they become soft. Stir in half the masala paste and cook with thin coconut milk till soft.

Heat oil in a separate pan and fry the mustard seeds, curry leaves and onion pieces for 2-3 minutes. Next add the remaining masala paste and continue sautéing. Finally add the vegetable mix and simmer for 10 minutes. Lastly, top up the gravy with thick coconut milk, stir and remove from heat. Serve warm with rice for that authentic Chettinad experience!