Bitter gourd curry

Bitter gourd is the vegetable I dreaded once but very dear to me now, lol. It is one of the nutritious vegetables available to us; Although it tastes extremely bitter, various studies show that it is highly beneficial if consumed regularly. (You can research to know how exactly it can help.)

Being on a journey of eating better every day, my husband and I try to include as diverse vegetables and greens as possible in our diet, and bitter gourd is always on our weekly list. We usually eat it in the form of a curry, either with chapatis/rotis or as a side dish with rice and plain dal/rasam.

Bitter gourd curry or Hagalkayi Palya(as it is called in Kannada) has a lot of flavors going – bitter, sweet, spicy, and tangy. However, the bitterness of the vegetable overpowers the others. But the inclusion of ingredients like tamarind and jaggery helps to curb this bitterness to a certain extent. Continue reading to know how to make this healthy and yummy curry.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3-4 adult servings


3-4 small bitter gourds
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
One sprig of curry leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1 small red onion, sliced
2-3 tablespoons of tamarind juice
1 teaspoon jaggery powder
Salt to taste


Slice the bitter gourd into thin pieces by removing seeds and soak them into water along with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Drain out the water completely and squeeze out the excess water from bitter gourds.

Heat oil in a cooking pan on medium heat. Transfer the bitter gourd into the pan and sauté them until light brown (this may take up to 5 minutes), then remove them into a separate bowl.

Add cumin seeds into the same oil on low heat and allow them to sizzle. Then add the curry leaves, minced garlic, and sauté for 10 seconds. Maintaining the heat on low, add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder, sauté them for another 10 seconds( ensure that the spices don’t burn) and add the tamarind pulp along with jaggery powder. Transfer the fried bitter gourd into the pan, add the sliced onions plus salt to taste, and combine together. Cook this for 4-5 minutes on low heat until bitter gourd tender, while stirring continuously. Turn off heat and serve the bitter gourd curry hot with chapatis/rotis or on the side with rice/quinoa – dal/rasam.


  • Add salt and spices according to your taste and preference.
  • Try to slice bitter gourd as thin as possible as it cooks faster.

If you tried this recipe, tag your food recreation on my Instagram @swaadista and let me know how you liked it!

Happy cooking and happy eating ❤

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