bitter gourd pickle recipe | karela pickle recipe | bitter melon pickle recipe

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Bitter gourd pickle Or karela pickle recipe – this pickle is made very differently than the usual method of making pickles.

bitter gourd pickle, karela pickle

If you like bitter gourd or bitter melon you will for sure like this pickle too. The pickle uses simple ingredients like fenugreek seeds/methi, mustard seeds, garlic, green chilies, oil… And is made in vinegar. The pickle is cooked on stove top… Then stored in a bottle and its ready to use. Initially the bitter taste of the bitter gourd is dominant in the pickle. But after keeping the pickle for some days, the bitter taste mellows and become a bit less with sour notes from the vinegar taking over.

I adapted this recipe from a book which only has pickle recipes in hindi. I had got this pickle book complimentary many years ago on purchasing dhara mustard oil. The original recipe called for white vinegar and sesame oil. But I substituted with apple cider vinegar and mustard oil.

This karela pickle was liked very much by my parents. In fact I gave away half of the pickle to them when they had visited us. The pickle goes very well with simple Indian food like dal-rice, sambar-rice, curd-rice or rasam-rice or kadhi rice combo.

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bitter gourd pickle recipe, karela pickle recipe

Bitter Gourd Pickle Recipe

Karela pickle recipe - This is an easy and quick Karela Pickle with vinegar and spices, cooked on a stovetop.
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Cuisine Indian
Course Side Dish
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 1 small jar


  • 250 gram bitter gourd (karela or bitter melon)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 150 ml white vinegar, a little more than ½ cup or about 10 tablespoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 60 ml about ¼ cup or 4 tablespoon mustard oil or sesame oil - regular sesame oil and not the Asian one
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 8 to 9 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5 to 6 green chilies, slit
  • salt as required


  • Firstly, rinse the bitter gourd well. If there are bruises on the skin, then you can slightly peel off that part. No need to peel the entire bitter gourd.
  • Slice the bitter gourd vertically and remove the seeds. Chop the bitter gourd into small pieces.
  • Sprinkle salt on the chopped bitter gourd and mix well. Keep this bitter gourd-salt mixture aside for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, squeeze the salted bitter gourd and discard the juices. Rinse once again. Drain well and keep aside.
  • Heat mustard oil till it starts smoking. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and fry till the seeds crackle.
  • Add garlic and fry for 10 to 12 seconds. Then, add green chilies and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Next, add bitter gourd/karela and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add white vinegar and salt. Stir and bring the pickle mixture to a boil. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add red chili powder. Stir again and et the mixture cool.
  • Cover the pan with a cotton napkin instead of lid as we don't want condensation droplets on the lid.
  • When completely cooled, pour the Bitter Gourd Pickle in a clean sterilized jar.
  • Close the jar with its lid and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Serve Karela Pickle with an Indian meal like dal-rice, sambar-rice, curd rice or kadhi-rice.

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Step by step bitter gourd or karela pickle recipe:

1. First rinse the bitter gourd well. If there are bruises on the skin, then you can slightly peel of that part. Slice the bitter gourd and remove the seeds. Chop the bitter gourd. Sprinkle salt on the chopped bitter gourd and mix well. Keep this bitter gourd – salt mixture aside for 30 minutes. after 30 mins, squeeze the salted bitter gourd and discard the juices. rinse once again. Drain well and keep aside.

mix bitter gourd pieces with salt

2. Heat the mustard oil till it begins to smoke. Add the fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds.

preparing bitter gourd pickle spices

3. once they crackle, add thinly sliced garlic and fry for 10-12 seconds.

preparing karela pickle recipe

4. Then add slit green chilies and fry for 30 seconds.

frying bitter gourd or karela for pickle recipe

5. Add the bitter gourd pieces to the pan.

frying karela for bitter gourd pickle recipe

6. Stir and saute the bitter gourd for 7-8 minutes on a low to medium flame. Then add the vinegar and salt.

add salt to make karela pickle recipe

7. Bring the karela pickle mixture to a boil – about 3-4 minutes. Add red chili powder.

red chili powder for karela pickle recipe

8. Stir and let the mixture cool. The pickle will have some vinegar and is not dry. After storing the bitter gourd pickle matures in a few weeks but you can have it straight away once cooled. You can also allow it to mature for 2-3 days. In this case too, you can keep the pickle in the refrigerator.

karela pickle mixture, bitter gourd pickle mixture

Once cooled, Transfer the Bitter gourd pickle in a clean sterilized bottle with a clean non reactive spoon. Close the jar and keep the pickle in the fridge and Serve the bitter gourd pickle whenever required. the pickle stays good for 3 months in refrigeration.

bitter gourd pickle recipe, karela pickle recipe

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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Comments are closed.


  1. Thank u very much for the recipy.i love to prepare pickles.Can we use sunflower oil instead of musturd oil? My family members don’t like musturd oil.

  2. Made it and it tasted same as my grandmother’s pickle(central Kerala). I used gingelly oil. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been looking for it for years!!5 stars

  3. Thanks for the karela pickle recipe. Since, I am exploring the the possibility to market this commercially, this piece has come in handy.


    Pb.4 stars

  4. I am salivating….. this is similar to many kottayam style pickles except mustard oil

    1. thanks anitha for the info. i was not aware of it. mustard oil gives a good taste and flavor.

  5. Dassana, I am drooling overt this pickle. I love Bittergourd and I love pickles. This is a keeper for sure!