Karela Masala (Bitter Gourd Curry)

Karela Masala (Bitter Gourd Curry)

I am not celebrating the most hated vegetables week. My mom in law is visiting us and I am just trying to make the most of it. I am trying to learn from her the best recipes she makes. Next few weeks you might see lot of gujju stuff on Vegetarian Khana and if you want to see any gujju dish on Vegetarian Khana, do share it with me so that I can ask her to teach me that. It is Karela (Bitter gourd) masala this weekend. People either love Karela or they absolutely hate it. I don’t love it but I love the Karela fry that my mom makes, or the masala Karela that my mom in law and my aunt make. Karela is very bitter, but is eaten a lot in India because of its medicinal value.

To reduce the bitterness of Karela, peel the Karela, cut it into small pieces and discard the seeds. Sprinkle little salt on peeled and chopped Karela and leave it aside for 20-30 minutes. When ready to cook the Karela, wash it under running water and squeeze the Karela to reduce the bitterness.

Remember my mom in law’s signature mixed veg curry recipe? Well, this one uses the same masala. If you have the masala ready, this is a very quick recipe. You can check the recipe for masala here. Adding a little jaggery, adds flavor and helps to reduce the bitterness of Karela.

Make sure to take the curry off from flames as soon as you finish mixing the masala. Cooking it for a long time will make the besan in the masala stick to the pan. This curry tastes good with bajri roti or whole wheat rotis. You can serve this with fresh/pickled onions and the non spicy chillies.

Karela Masala (Bitter Gourd Curry)


Serves 2

  • 1 cup chopped Karela (bitter gourd)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 4 tbsp mixed vegetable sabji masala
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste (Remember the masala and the karela already have salt so taste the curry and add salt only if required)


Peel the Karela. Remove seeds and chop into small pieces. Sprinkle approximately 1 tsp salt and keep it aside for 25-30 minutes. Squeeze the Karela and throw the water. Wash them in running water and squeeze again.

Pressure cook the Karela with 1 cup water and little salt for three whistles. Once the pressure is released, strain the Karela and discard the water.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add onions, little salt, and turmeric powder. Sauté and cook for 1-2 minutes till the onions start getting brown. Add Karela, chilli powder, and jaggery. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the sabji masala and mix well. Cook for 40-50 seconds and take off from the gas. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with hot roti.

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