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A recipe to make bitter gourd better

A few hacks and a sabzi with a twist to make karela more palatable

Bitter gourd with a twist. (Photo: Vindhya Karwa)
Bitter gourd with a twist. (Photo: Vindhya Karwa)

It’s the season of gourds—lauki, turai, and the most famous of them all, karela. While bitter gourd is revered for its nutritional benefits, it doesn’t find many fans for its taste. Making a stir fry is one of the simplest ways to cook it, while more elaborate variations include stuffing it with coarsely grounded peanuts and grated coconut seasoned with spices.

Also read | The unsung recipes with ‘urad dal’

Chef and food stylist Vindhya Karwa, who posts recipes and kitchen advise on Instagram @VinsPlate, shares a recipe and a few tips to reduce the bitterness of karela:

Rub salt on peeled and chopped karela pieces. Leave it for 20 minutes then squeeze out the juice, wash and squeeze out the water again to drain off the bitterness.

Deep fry karela prepared with a mixture of curd, sugar, and lemon. This replaces the bitter taste with a tasty, tangy flavor that even children love.

Apply a mix of salt, turmeric, tamarind and brown sugar on peeled, deseeded and chopped bitter gourd. Wash off after a few minutes and then cook it.

If you want to consume bitter gourd for its nutritional value, just pop it in a juicer and add in fruits like pears, apple, orange for sweetness. You could also put in honey,  jaggery or even ginger to make it more palatable.

Also read | Is besan the ultimate super flour?

Bitter Gourd Sabzi With A Twist


2-3 bitter gourd
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
One-fourth cup besan (gram flour), roasted
1 tsp cooking oil
One-eighth tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp fennel seeds
Half tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste
Half a lime


Peel and cut the bitter gourd into thin slices. Add a little salt to it and keep aside for 20-30 mins.

Blanch them in hot water. Press the bitter gourd between your palm and squeeze out all the water. This step can be skipped if you want to retain the bitterness.

In a non-stick pan, sauté bitter gourd to make it a little crispy and keep it aside.

Now, in a non-stick pan or kadhai, heat oil. When the oil is hot, put cumin seeds and hing

When the cumin starts to brown, add fennel seeds and onions, and cook for about 1 min.

Add chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes become soft.

Now, mix in coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cook for about two minutes.

Stir in the bitter gourd. Add sugar and roasted besan flour, and cook for about 3-4 min or till the bitter gourd is well coated with besan.

Squeeze in the lime juice and the sabzi is ready to be served. 

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