‘Pitlai’ (பிட்ளை) is a traditional tamil brahmin dish which is prepared using either bittergourd or brinjal along with chickpeas. Unlike sambar, consistency of pitlai is very thick and can be served as a side dish to Idli/Dosa too. The recipe given below is exactly how my maternal grandmother and my mother makes it.
However you could try few variations as mentioned below :
– Kabuli channa or brown chickpeas is ideally used while making pitlai
– You could substitue it with white chickpeas or green peas
– Generally coconut paste is only used to spice the ‘pitlai’.However we do add a teaspoon of sambar powder along with the paste.
– If you don’t have sambar powder add an extra red chilli & some coriander seeds
– Avarakkai (Indian Broad Beans) can be used instead of bittergourd,brinjal