Karela Recipe: How to Make Bitter Gourd in Indian Style

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Bitter Gourd Recipe: Bitter gourd or Karela as it is called in Hindi belongs to the family of pumpkins. As the name suggests the vegetable has a deep bitter taste. Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon in some parts of the world. The bitter gourd is replete in medicinal uses and has been used as one of the primary ingredients in African traditional medicine.

The juice of bitter gourd is said to be effective against diabetes and other cardiovascular ailments. Bitter gourd has antimicrobial properties too. It is very beneficial to include bitter gourd in the main diet menu every now and then. The digestive properties of the vegetable make it a hot favorite among people who know the vegetable’s worth.

Various culinary techniques are adopted to subside the bitter taste of the vegetable. Grandmas who spent their lifetime in kitchens suggest having the vegetable in its most bitter form, owing to the benefits. The north Indians stuff karelas with various spices, flour and condiments to overcome the bitter taste. In the north east bitter gourd is served with yoghurt as an antidote to the bitter taste. The south Indians cook the vegetable with grated coconut, sugar or jaggery. The famous karele ka achaar or kakarkai pachadi (in south) is a good cure for diabetes. Let’s see a mouthwatering Indian karela recipe.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serving: 4-5 persons


5 medium sized bitter gourd cut in semi circles

2 tbsp refined groundnut oil

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 small red tomatoes

2 green chillies vertically cut

2 small onions chopped

¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

10 gm jaggery shredded

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp dhanya powder

Salt as per taste.


  1. Take a vessel and heat on medium flame. Add groundnut oil, heat it for a while.
  2. Add chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, chillies and sauté..
  3. Deep sauté until onion becomes kind of pulp.
  4. To this add cut pieces of bitter gourd, tomatoes, turmeric, dhanya, chilli powders and mix thoroughly. Add salt as per taste. Close with a lid and keep on medium flame for ten minutes. Cook until karelas become tender and get close.
  5. Add shredded jiggery and combine thoroughly. Cook until clear gravy is formed.
  6. Serve after sprinkling coriander.

Cooking tip: Soak cut karelas in salted water for half-an-hour before cooking. This is said to subside the bitterness of the vegetable.

Nothing like having this karela dish with hot rice and tomato chutney when ravenously hungry. Try the dish as it is very easy to make and the ingredients are available in almost all Indian kitchens. Share with us your experience over the culinary extravaganza!

Happy cooking!

Anu Veluri

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