Bitter gourd curry recipe – Karela, pavakkai, kakarakaya are the other Indian names to bitter gourd or bitter melon. Bitter gourd is used to make stir fry, chips, curry, pulusu/ stew, pickles and even to make pakora. I am sharing a simple bitter gourd curry recipe that can be served with plain white rice, brown rice, millets and even with chapati.
This is a diabetic friendly recipe and even suitable for the aged since there is no usage of jaggery and tamarind as well.
This karela sabzi recipe is not one from any regional cuisine but my own which I make in my own way but tastes very good, all without the addition of jaggery or sugar.
I do not extract and discard the juice of karela either before making this curry, yet it tastes very very good. Probably its the way the curry is prepared that lends that unique taste.
There are not many bitter gourd recipes on the blog yet except this bitter gourd stir fry which you may like to check.
Bitter gourd curry (karela sabzi recipe)
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams karela or bitter gourd
- 2 tbsps oil
- ½ tsp cumin / jeera
- 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
- 1 green chilli slit (optional)
- 1 tsp saunf powder / fennel powder / sompu powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- Salt as needed
- 1 onion , medium to large , chopped finely
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 to 2 tbsps Lemon juice or as needed (I used half)
- 3 tbsps coriander leaves finely chopped
How to make the recipe
- Wash and slice bitter gourd thinly. You can also discard seeds if you prefer.
- Heat oil in a pan. Saute cumin until they crackle and add hing.
- Add chopped onions and curry leaves. Saute until they turn pink.
- Add bitter gourd slices and sprinkle salt. Saute for 2 to 3 mins.
- Cover and cook on a low heat until half cooked.
- Add fennel powder, coriander powder, red chili powder. Mix every thing well.
- Cover and cook again on a very low heat until soft cooked. If the curry looks very dry sprinkle very little water. Check for spice and salt, if needed add more.
- Add coriander leaves and stir.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and mix well.
- Transfer karela sabzi to a serving bowl.
- Serve bitter gourd curry with rice or roti.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
1. Wash bitter gourd thoroughly. I usually soak them up in a large pot filled with salted water. Leave for about 30 mins. Brush off with a vegetable brush. Rinse thoroughly and trim off both the edges. Then slice them thinly. I prefer to keep the seeds, eating them occasionally is harmless.
2. Heat oil in a pan and saute cumin until it begins to crackle. Add hing.
3. Add onions, curry leaves and green chilies if you prefer. I have not used chilies.
4. Saute the onions well until they turn pink or transparent. We don’t need to bown them.
How to make karela sabzi
5. Add bitter gourd slices and sprinkle salt. Saute well for 2 to 3 mins.
6. Cover and cook on a low heat until the gourd is slightly tender or half cooked.
7. The veggies would have wilted off by now.
8. Add fennel powder, coriander powder and red chili powder.
9. Mix everything well and saute for a min. Cook covered on a low flame until bitter gourd is completely soft cooked. If the veggies look very dry, sprinkle some water and cook. Check salt and spice. Adjust as needed.
10. Add coriander leaves. Saute for a minute.
11. Switch off the stove and squeeze in some lemon juice. This helps to subside the bitter taste a bit.
Serve bitter gourd curry with plain rice, roti or phulka.