Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe | Karela Sabji

bitter gourd curry recipe

Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe: A sour and spicy curry with sliced bitter gourd and other Indian spices For lunch and dinner, it is typically served with roti and chapati, but it can also be served with steamed rice. The recipe has many variations that vary between northern and southern India, but this recipe is dedicated to southern India.

Indian curries are very important to many Indians and are prepared on a daily basis. There are numerous varieties made with various ingredients and for various purposes. Bitter gourd curry, known for its sweet, sour, and spicy flavour combinations, is one such simple and easy curry recipe.

I’ve posted several bitter gourd recipes on my blog, but this one with gravy is the most popular and requested. I previously posted stuffed karela and stir-fry karela, both of which are commonly served as a side dish to rice-based dishes. However, this can be served with both rice and chapati. Having said that, this recipe is not for everyone and has a small fan base. Perhaps it’s because of the bitter gourd’s sour taste. I enjoy the combination of sour, sweet, and spicy flavours that distinguishes it from other curries. In addition, I like it with a dal rice and rasam rice combo, but it is completely customizable.

This Bitter Gourd Curry, also known as Karela Sabji (in Hindi), is a simple and straightforward Punjabi dish. Bitter gourd cubes, lightly caramelised onions, dry mango powder, and a few spices combine to make this dish sweet, tangy, and bitter. This karela recipe originated in our family, and I learned it from my mother-in-law. I hope you have as much fun making this as we do.
Not everyone enjoys bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon or karela (Hindi). You’ll either love it or despise it. I fall into the first category of liking this vegetable since I was a child.

It is, in fact, one of my favourite vegetables, and I adore this recipe. I always make sure to include karela in our meals at least once a month. Other karela recipes I make at home besides this one are:

In addition, some simple and important tips and suggestions for a delicious bitter gourd curry recipe. First and foremost, I used Asian bitter gourd for this recipe, which is recommended and ideal for it. Hairy bitter gourd melon has a less sour taste and thus may not produce the same flavour. Second, thoroughly soak the sliced bitter gourd in salt water to release its bitterness. It is important to note that soaking may not completely remove the bitterness, but it is highly recommended. Finally, I added jaggery to balance the sourness and sweetness. However, the addition of jaggery is optional and can be skipped if you prefer a less sweet curry.

You can also see my other Indian Recipes Collection, it Includes various delicious sweet recipes such as Idli Dhokla Recipe and So on. 

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Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe Card:

bitter gourd curry recipe

Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe

This bitter gourd curry is sweet and sour and absolutely delicious! This flavorful recipe will make you fall in love with this underutilised vegetable. The bitterness of the gourd is beautifully balanced by the tamarind's sourness and the jaggery's sweetness (unrefined sugar). This recipe is ideal for introducing your child to this nutritious vegetable.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course curry
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4 servings


  • 1  bitter gourd
  • 4 tsp  tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp  jeera / cumin
  • 1/2 tsp  fennel / saunf
  • few curry leaves
  • 1/2  onion   (sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp  ginger garlic paste
  • 1  chilli   (slit)
  • 1/4 tsp  turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp  kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp  coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp  garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 3/4 cup  tamarind extract
  • 1 tbsp  jaggery / gud
  • 2 tbsp coriander  (finely chopped)


Step-by-step instructions for making bitter gourd curry karela sabzi:

  • First, cut the bitter gourd into thick slices and remove the seeds.
  • Rub the bitter gourd with 1 teaspoon salt
  • Afterward, add water and soak for 20-30 minutes.
  • In a large kadai, heat 4 teaspoon oil and sputter 12 teaspoon jeera, 12 teaspoon fennel, and a few curry leaves.
  • Add 1/2 onion, 1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste, and 1 chilli Sauté the onions until they are soft.
  • Squeeze the bitter gourd into the kadai.
  • Sauté for a minute, stirring constantly, until the bitter gourd is roasted.
  • Now add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 12 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sauté on low heat until the spices are thoroughly cooked.
  • add 3/4 cup tamarind extract and 1 tbsp jaggery.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the bitter gourd is tender.
  • Finally, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot steamed rice or chapati.
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  • To avoid bitterness, first cut the bitter gourd and remove the seeds.
  • In addition, soaking the bitter gourd slice in salt water reduces the bitterness.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer more sweetness, increase the amount of jaggery.
  • Finally, bitter gourd curry recipe tastes great when bitter and sweet flavours are balanced.

If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate the recipe and comment how it was 🙂 You can also Sign up for my email newsletter for more delicious vegetarian recipes.