Recipes – Bitter gourd stir fry

Recipes – KARELA SABZI (bitter gourd stir fry)

Bitter Gourd also known as bitter melon/bitter squash (karela in hindi, pavakka or kaipakka in malayalam) has lot of nutritional benefits to improve health. It is widely used in Indian cuisine. Many people avoid eating this because of its bitterness; however, including bitter gourd does wonders to our health. Even drinking raw bitter gourd juice is a healthy way to detoxify the body.

This is my favorite vegetable-fruit and I avoid rubbing it with salt to remove bitterness; it is healthy!! Now that am making for my little one, I need to do the salt procedure coz’ he refuses to eat. I make different variations of bitter gourd popular in Kerala like pavakka fry, theeyal, thoran, stir fry, pickles and pavakka pachadi (bitter gourd in yogurt sauce).

This side dish recipe is very simple, easy one with few ingredients available in the pantry and can be done in a jiffy. Best enjoyed with some steamed rice and rotis.

Simple, healthy and easy-to-prepare stir fry with the goodness of bitter gourd makes it a perfect side dish enjoyed with rotis or rice.


prep time : 15 minutes, cooking time : 10 minutes, cuisine : Indian, serves : 4, author: gloria


2 medium sized bitter gourd

¼ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp peanuts

1 onion chopped

3 big garlic cloves chopped

1 green chilly finely chopped

few curry leaves

½ tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp chilly powder

½ tbsp jaggery (increase or decrease)

salt to taste

oil of your choice


Clean, cut both the ends and slit the bitter gourd vertically; using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and scrape the inner white pith. Further, chop them into fine pieces, transfer it to a bowl. Add salt (preferably sea-salt) and let it remain for sometime to remove its bitterness. Now, squeeze out the water, give a rinse to remove excess salt, drain and keep aside.

Take a pan, tip in oil. When it heats up add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, peanuts and curry leaves. Stir for few seconds. Add onion and garlic. Sauté till the onion turns soft and translucent.

Add bitter gourd pieces, turmeric, salt and give a stir to mix. Cover and cook the bitter gourd for about 5-8 minutes or till it is done.

Add jaggery. Mix and allow it to melt. Stir fry till moisture is completely evaporated, keeping the heat on medium-high for about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle chilly powder. Stir and it is ready!  Am going to enjoy it with brown rice, tomato pepper rasam and pickle. Yum!!!

My observations/notes :

When choosing to buy bitter gourd, try to buy the ones which are light green or white in colour with tender and small seeds

– can add 1 small tomato or hand-squeeze half slice lemon if required


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