karela sabzi recipe | dry bitter gourd curry recipe | karela recipes

karela sabzi recipe with step by step photos  this is the punjabi recipe of karela sabji from my mom-in-law. it is a dry bitter gourd curry and makes use of only one additional vegetable in it besides the spices – onions.

karela sabji recipe, dry bitter gourd curry

this dry and tasty karela sabzi (bitter gourd or bitter melon) is a quick and easy version which is often made in our house, when we do not have enough time for making bharwa karela (stuffed karela). the ingredients used are similar in both these recipes, except for the method of cooking. apart from this other karela recipes i make at home are:

now before i mention step by step details about the karela recipe, lets take a sneak peek on the health benefits of karela or bitter gourd:

  1. purifies blood.
  2. excellent for people having diabetes.
  3. improves constipation and piles.
  4. helpful in healing skin disorders.
  5. besides being good in B Vitamins and Vitamin C, karela is also rich in minerals like iron, valcium and phosphorous.

i always make sure that i include karela in our food once or twice a month. it is in fact one of my favorite veggie and i simply love this recipe, the bharwan karela that my mom-in-law makes and the karela chips which my mother makes.

karela sabzi recipe

Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Course:side dish
Cuisine:north indian
Calories:131kcal
Servings (change the number to scale):3
4.58 from 19 votes
karela sabzi recipe, dry bitter gourd curry recipe
karela ki sabji recipe - dry bitter gourd curry made in north indian style. this is a quick and easy bitter gourd recipe.

INGREDIENTS FOR karela sabzi recipe

(1 CUP = 250 ML)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 250 grams karela or 5 small to mediums sized karela or 2 cups chopped karela (bitter gourd)
  • 200 grams onions or 2 large onions or 1.5 cups thinly sliced onions (pyaaz)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • salt as per taste
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder), add as required

HOW TO MAKE karela sabzi recipe

preparation for karela sabzi recipe

  • rinse and then peel karela. then chop in small pieces. 
  • remove the seeds while chopping. if the karela is small and tender, then these will have tender seeds and they cannot be removed. 
  • if karela is very bitter, then add some salt on chopped karela pieces. mix very well and allow this mixture to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. then squeeze the karela and rinse them very well in water again. this will get rid of some bitterness from the karela.

making karela sabzi

  • in a kadai or pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil.
  • let the oil become hot. then reduce the flame to a low and add the chopped karela.
  • mix chopped karela with oil and sauté on a low to medium-low flame. stir often while sautéing.
  • sauté the karela for 4 to 5 minutes. 
  • then add 1.5 cups thinly sliced onions.
  • mix the sliced onions with the karela. sprinkle some water if onion or karela starts sticking to pan.
  • sprinkle ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teasoon kashmiri red chili powder and salt as per taste. mix very well.
  • on a low flame continue to sauté stirring often.
  • sauté karela sabji for 10 to 12 minutes till the both the karela and onions are cooked. the onions will also become golden and caramelize. keep on stirring often. 
  • when the karela sabzi is ready, sprinkle dry mango powder and garam masala. 
  • mix very well and then switch off the flame.
  • serve karela sabzi with phulkas, parathas and a bowl of fresh plain curd or sweetened curd. this dry bitter gourd curry also goes very well as a side vegetable dish or accompaniment with the combination of dal rice or kadhi chawal. you can garnish with some coriander leaves if you want.

RECIPE TIPS

important tips for this karela sabji recipe

  1. how to remove bitterness from karela - in india, we do not get extremely bitter karelas. but, if you get the karela which are very bitter, then mix some salt on the chopped karela and keep aside for 20 to 30 minutes. the salt extracts the bitterness. rinse in water and then use in the recipe. alternatively, you could also put them in salted water. keep them in the salted water for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse them with fresh water and then add them to the recipe.
  2. a few updates from readers' comments: karela seeds can be weeded out due to the reason that they are toxic and should be avoided during pregnancy. red arils (covering on seeds) are reportedly toxic in children, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and sickness.
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How to make Karela Sabzi Recipe

1. rinse and then peel 250 grams karela or 5 small to medium sized karela. wash them in running water. then chop in small pieces. remove the seeds while chopping. if the karela is small and tender, then these will have tender seeds and they cannot be removed. if karela is very bitter, then add some salt on chopped karela pieces. mix very well and allow this mixture to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. then squeeze the karela and rinse them very well in water. this will get rid of some bitterness from the karela.

making karela sabzi recipe

2. in a kadai or pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. let the oil become hot. then reduce the flame to a low and add the chopped karela.

making karela sabzi recipe

3. mix chopped karela with oil and sauté on a low to medium-low flame. stir often while sautéing.

making karela sabzi recipe

4. sauté the karela for 4 to 5 minutes.

making karela sabzi recipe

5. then add 1.5 cups thinly sliced onions.

making karela sabzi recipe

6. mix the sliced onions with the karela.

making karela sabzi recipe

7. sprinkle ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder and salt as per taste.

making karela sabzi recipe

8. mix very well.

making karela sabzi recipe

9. on a low flame continue to sauté stirring often. sprinkle some water if onions or karela starts sticking to pan.

making karela sabzi recipe

10. sauté for 10 to 12 minutes on a low or medium-low flame till the both the karela and onions are cooked. the onions will also become golden and caramelize. keep on stirring in between. check the seasoning. add more red chili powder or salt if required.

karela sabzi recipe, Dry Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe

11. when the karela sabzi is ready, sprinkle the dry mango powder and garam masala powder.

karela sabzi recipe, Dry Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe

12. mix very well and then switch off the flame.

karela sabzi recipe, Dry Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe

serve karela sabzi with phulkas, parathas and a bowl of fresh plain curd (yogurt) or sweetened curd. this dry bitter gourd curry also goes very well as a side vegetable dish or accompaniment with the combination of dal rice or kadhi chawal ( punjabi curd kadhi with rice). you can garnish with some coriander leaves if you want.

karela sabzi recipe


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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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76 comments/reviews

  1. Dear Dassana,
    I have followed your recipes for more than a year but never commented before. Love your website. I am from Punjab, Pakistani side. We are traditionally meat eaters. I wanted to find veg and lentil recipes and your recipes are fabulous!
    This karela recipe I tried for the first time today and hubby loved it! So thanks very much 😊. I have a request. I have heard about a karela recipe where the peelings are added too. If you have a recipe for it, please share!4 stars

    • dear ayesha, thank you for this lovely feedback. by the way, my in-laws are punjabis and were from lahore in pakistan. for the karela recipe, glad to know you and your hubby liked it. most welcome. i have heard about the peels added in stuffed karela, but i do not have this particular recipe. if i knew, i would have definitely shared it with you. thanks again.

  2. I made this dish yesterday. I forgot. That was using a nonstick pan and accidentally used more oil. To compensate, I added some Besan B4 adding aam chur and garam masala, so that it absorbs the excess oil. It turned to be a great addition. The slight bitterness in Besan added to the flavour of the roasted karela and the caramelised onion.5 stars

    • thanks shruthi for this detailed comment and the rating. yes, besan tastes good in such dry vegetable dishes and gives a good flavor and taste. thanks for sharing.

  3. Tried this recipe today.A simple preparation with onions and a few spices..Was very tasty and did not feel the bitterness much.Loved it with phulkas.5 stars

    • thanks winnie. hope you are doing fine. yes it is a simple sabzi. the sweetness of the caramelized onions takes away or balances whatever bitterness the bitter gourd has. yes this karela sabzi does taste goood with phulkas.

  4. Hi dassana .. am going to try this for dinner today.. and am sure it will turn good n best.. but I would like to share u that keeping karela in salt water is best avoid bitter taste but I do.somthing elz too I would like it.share after washing karela in salt keep in tamarind boiled water for 10 to 20 or u can bring to boil with tamarind in water this will.help reduce bitter taste.. hope u liked it thnx..4 stars

    • thanks fazila for sharing this tamarind water tip. i had some notion regarding this tamarind water being used to get rid of bitterness, but had never tried. thanks for confirming. will definitely help the readers.

  5. Hi Dassana
    can u plz give me ur mail id??
    i need some recipes for my husband who has hypertension and diabetes.
    thanx

    • shally i am not the right person for recipes focussing on these health conditions. its best to consult a dietitian. a dietitian can give a meal plan and also tell what ingredients are not suitable. its best to take professional advice regarding diabetes. i just have a basic knowledge which most people have about diabetes and hypertension and basic do’s and dont’s. my mother in law has diabetes but it is on borderline. so we do not include sugar in her tea and she does not have any sweets too. but otherwise she has regular indian meals of chapati, sabzi and dal. fresh fruits are also included in her diet. for any other recipe queries you can email me at [email protected]

  6. My sister hates karela… but today after having this karela sabzi, she actually praised me…. Thank you so much….. your blog is like a god gift for working woman who doesn’t have time to go outside and take cooking classes….5 stars

  7. Great recipe. Making as we speak. Usually I cook karela with onions on a low heat and covered. Excited to see how this turns out. Btw sometimes in my Tadka I add jeers, sauf and little kalonji. I like the taste it gives. 🙂