Simple Bitter gourd curry | Hagalkayi Palya

Simple Bitter gourd curry | Hagalkayi Palya

Bitter gourd is the one vegetable I dreaded earlier but is very dear to me now, lol. Although it tastes extremely bitter, various studies have shown that its a highly beneficial vegetable if consumed regularly.

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

Bitter gourd curry/stir-fry or Hagalkayi Palya(in Kannada) has a lot of flavors going in it – bitter, sweet, spicy, and tangy. However, the bitterness of the vegetable overpowers the others. So including ingredients like tamarind and jaggery helps to curb this bitterness to a certain extent and makes it so tasty.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy!

Simple Bitter gourd curry | Hagalkayi Palya

Bitter gourd stir-fried with cumin, garlic, tamarind, jaggery, onion and spices.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Bitter Gourd, Dry Curry, Hagalkayi Palya, Simple Bitter Gourd Recipe
Servings: 3 people
Author: Swaadista


  • Cooking pan with lid preferably a wide bottom pan


  • 4 small bitter gourds
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • curry leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tsp jaggery powder
  • salt to taste


  • Slice the bitter gourd into thin pieces and remove their seeds. Soak them in water along with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Then drain out the water completely and squeeze out the excess water from them and keep aside.
    Bitter gourd
  • Heat oil in a cooking pan on medium heat.
  • Transfer bitter gourd slices 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.
  • Add curry leaves, minced garlic, and sauté for 10 seconds.
    Cumin, curry leaves and minced garlic
  • 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.
    Add spices and saute ensuring they don't burn
  • Transfer the fried bitter gourd slices into the pan, add onions plus salt, and mix together. 
  • Cook this for 4-5 minutes on low heat until bitter gourd tender, while stirring continuously. 
  • Turn off the heat and serve bitter gourd curry hot with chapatis/rotis or on the side with rice/quinoa – dal/rasam.

Let me know if you tried this recipe by tagging a picture of your preparation on my Instagram @swaadista and using #swaadistarecipes.

Happy cooking, happy eating!

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