Bitter Gourd Curry

bitter gourd curry

Bitter gourd curry has a fine taste. Furthermore, the main vegetable you use to make this side dish, bitter gourd or bitter melon, is said to offer excellent health benefits.

Bitter gourd also known as, among others, haagala kayi, karela, pavai kai, kakara kaya and kaipakka, is usually available throughout the year. If you are thinking of a bitter gourd recipe, give the bitter gourd curry a try for its cooking ease and health values.

The bitter gourd curry recipe needs only a few items. These are the same you typically use in everyday cooking.

Food Fact
Bitter gourd is said to prevent or control diabetes. This vegetable extract is said to be a remedy also for certain, other health problems.1,2

One of the ingredients of this curry is jaggery. Although it is not mandatory, you should use it if you like to reduce the bitterness of the gourd.

Jaggery also has medicinal values. Read more about jaggery benefits in the blog.

There are also other ways to decrease the bitterness of this vegetable. The methods are given in the bitter gourd recipe that follows.

To give this curry a tangy flavor, use tamarind paste. Here is how to make to make tamarind paste at home.

How can you use bitter gourd curry? Use it as a side dish. Chapati, in particular, has an excellent fit with this curry. For dosas like moong dal dosa and rotis like ragi rotti too, the bitter gourd curry makes a good choice.

Thanks to the bitter gourd curry. It can play a dual role of a curry and sambar. If you do not want to make the latter, use the gravy portion of the curry to mix it with hot rice. Add a teaspoon of ghee and mix. Relish the rice with, say a sweet lemon pickle.

gooseberry jam
Gooseberry jam is a lip-smacking jam for dishes like chapati and bread.

Servings: 2-3


1. Bitter gourd 2
2. Onion 1
3. Oil 2-3 teaspoons
4. Mustard 1/4 teaspoon
5. Tamarind paste to taste
6. Jaggery to taste
7. Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon
8. Coriander leaves, chopped 1/2 tablespoon
9. Salt to taste

Masala Items:

1. Oil few drops
2. Red chilies 2 or to taste
3. Chana dal 1 teaspoon
4. Urad dal 1 teaspoon
5. Coriander seeds 1/2 tablespoon
6. Sesame seeds 1/2 teaspoon
7. Coconut gratings 2-3 tablespoons

How to make Bitter Gourd Curry?

1. Wash the bitter gourd.

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2. Cut the bitter gourd into pieces. Remove the seeds if the gourd contains hard seeds.

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How to Remove the Bitterness from Bitter Gourd?

To remove the bitterness from bitter gourd pieces, use one of the methods given in the table below. If you want to retain the bitterness, skip the table below and go to Step 4:

a. Mix the bittergourd pieces with turmeric and salt.

Keep aside for 2-3 hours.

Sqeeze the pieces to remove the bitter juice.
b. Cook the bitter gourd pieces in water with turmeric.

Strain the juice after the pieces are cooked.
c. Peel the outer skin of the gourd before cutting it into pieces.

If you like the bitterness, use the bitter gourd as is.
d. Mix the bittergourd pieces with salt and tamarind paste. Keep aside, if possible, overnight. Or, keep aside for 4-5 hours.

Fry the mixture in the seasoning till the pieces become soft.

3. Do this step only if you have not removed the bitterness, using Method a or d in the table above:

Keep the flame to low.

Add water and turmeric to the bittergourd pieces.

Pressure cook till one whistle of the cooker.

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4. Heat a few drops of oil in a small kadai or utensil to fry the masala items.

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5. Add chana dal. Mix.

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6. Add chilies, urad dal and coriander seeds.

Fry till the dal turns to light golden brown.

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7. Add sesame seeds and coconut gratings.

Mix till the sesame seeds become hot.

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Switch-off the stove.

Keep aside to cool.

Grind the masala items to a paste.

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8. Chop the onion.

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9. Heat oil in a utensil.

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10. Add mustard seeds.

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11. Add onion pieces and curry leaves after mustard seeds splutter.

Fry till the onion pieces turn to golden brown.

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12. Add bitter gourd pieces.

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Fry for a minute.

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13. Add masala paste, salt, tamarind paste and jaggery.

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Add water dependig on the thickness of the gravy you need.
14. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

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15. Add chopped coriander leaves. Mix.

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16. Bitter gourd curry is ready.

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TIPS Bitter Gourd Curry
1. If you do not have tamarind paste, add 1 or 2 chopped tomatoes.
2. Use sugar as a substitute for jaggery, but the use of jaggery is recommended for its medicinal properties.