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

4.5 from 12 votes

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.

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:

karela sabji recipe

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 below:

karela sabzi recipe, dry bitter gourd curry recipe
4.5 from 12 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.

course side dish
cuisine north indian
prep time 10 minutes
cook time 20 minutes
total time 30 minutes
servings 3
rough calories per serving 131 kcal
author dassana amit

ingredients (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 recipe

preparation for karela sabzi recipe:

  1. rinse and then peel karela. then chop in small pieces. 

  2. remove the seeds while chopping. if the karela is small and tender, then these will have tender seeds and they cannot be removed. 

  3. 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 recipe:

  1. in a kadai or pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil.

  2. let the oil become hot. then reduce the flame to a low and add the chopped karela.

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

  4. sauté the karela for 4 to 5 minutes. 

  5. then add 1.5 cups thinly sliced onions.

  6. mix the sliced onions with the karela. sprinkle some water if onion or karela starts sticking to pan.

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

  8. on a low flame continue to sauté stirring often.

  9. 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. 

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

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

  12. 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 notes

few 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.

How to make Punjabi 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

About

dassana amit
i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. a home science degree course further enhanced my cooking and baking skills professionally along with an internship in a five star hotel. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

all the 1800 recipes posted on blog are tried and tested and made healthy wherever possible. the recipes are detailed and with step by step pictures that will easily help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food.



70 thoughts on “karela sabzi recipe | dry bitter gourd curry recipe | karela recipes

  1. Thanks for recipe

    • welcome.

  2. 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..

    • 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.

  3. 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]

  4. 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….

    • thats nice to know manisha. thanks for sharing your experience. most welcome and thanks again. happy cooking.

  5. 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. 🙂

    • thanks shona. hope the recipe went well for you. i am sure jeera, saunf and kalonji must be giving a good taste.

  6. nice to see you respond to every comment…

    • welcome and thanks robin 🙂

  7. Very tasty. Loved it

    • thanks harsha.

  8. Thank you for this delicious n easy recipe. Tried it today n turned out too good.

    • welcome and thankyou teju 🙂

  9. So easy to make
    Nd really its vry tasty

  10. Recipe seems yummy, just worried about the bitterness. looking forward to trying it.

  11. so easy to make and is very tasty… Thanks for sharing!

    • welcome nimisha

  12. Thank you Dasanna for sharing this recipe. The dish is so simple, can be made with minimum ingredients and yet is very tasty.

    • welcome chitra.

  13. Wowwwww easy recipe and ekdm mst tasty tasty….yummmmmiiiiiiiiiiiii

    • thanks pooja

  14. very simple and tasty

    • thanks vk menon

  15. I am diabetic with very high sugar levels I am anxious to get these down without being dependent on insulin

    • apart from bitter gourd, i would suggest you to use fenugreek in your diet. either fresh fenugreek leaves (if you can get them where you live) or fenugreek seeds or powder. a bit added in your food will help. you will get a lot of info on google.

  16. I m a foodie, just loved this recipe very simple and fast, not so bitter.
    taste good…

    • thanks for the feedback.

  17. thanks for the recipe..looks god my father used to eat lots of Karela for his blood pressure and other illlnesses

    • thanks ben.

  18. Very simple recipe! I am about to try this out. Thanks!

    • welcome pramod

  19. Why we have to peal Kerale.

    • there is no need to peel the kerala. its just individual preference.

  20. Yesterday I saw this and cooked it at home, my husband liked it. thanx. it was very good.

    • welcome anjali

  21. Yesterday i read this recipe, and did the same and it became soooo …… good.

    • welcome anjali and thanks.

  22. We also cook in similar manner but we add fennel (Saunf) also to it..it tastes good..try..it should be grinded masala saunf, added to ur taste.

    • i have tried adding saunf powder in bharwan karela. i know it tastes good. will try with the sabi too.

  23. Karela is not among my favorites, but tried this recipe out since we had it at home. It was good to try karela subji with a different taste!

    • this has a different taste. you can also try the stuffed (bharwan) karela. you will like this one too. and in some time karela will become your favorite veggie 😉

  24. Hi
    i made the karaila but i used salt because i dont like the bitterness. Even after cooking they still taste a bit bitter is there anything we can do to reduce the bitterness even after cooking? (by the way i made keema karaila)

    • after slicing or chopping the karela, mix with some salt and keep aside for 20-25 minutes. then squeeze the karela pieces with your hands and rinse the karela in water. this technique will remove some bitterness. if you make a vegetarian version, then in some recipes, especially in south indian, tamarind and jaggery is added and this does tone down the bitterness.

  25. Yummy! 🙂 Thanks

  26. Thanks very much I loved this!! I will be buying Karela more often from the local bizarre

  27. m going to make this………… looking so delicious……………….

  28. Thanks for this recipe of Karela, we loved it.
    Maryland,U.S.A.

    • welcome bandana……

  29. tried it wonderful recipe. tks.

  30. tried it went very well tks u have given a great recipe.

    • thanks anisha

  31. why peel karela?

    • its not necessary to peel karela. if you don’t want to peel, then leave the peel intact.

  32. swt hrt in the pictures u posted it is not karela or bitter gourd but it is parval that uve taken. cannot cook karela like that it has to be salted and taken off its bitterness or else u r going to keep tasting the bitterness for the rest of the week….. kindly check n make the corrections on ur illustrative site….ciao

    • dear anshum

      i have made this karela recipe and for your information it is 100% karela/bitter gourd and not parval. observe more closely. can’t you see the karela seeds in the pics? do they look like parval seeds to you?

      and who has told you that the karela always has to be salted. in india we don’t get that bitter karela. and even on a personal front i prefer to have the bitterness in the karela. hence i have not added salt to the karela in this recipe.

      how can you make your own assumptions by not seeing or checking the information on the recipe properly? before mentioning anything like this just check the facts and pics on the recipe properly.

      i am actually amused by your weird comment. do you think i am a person who has lost her head and posting the pics of another vegetable. are you crazy or what?

      • Hello Dassana,

        A small update – Karela seeds can be weeded out due to the reason that it contains toxic and to be avoided during pregnancy. Hope this info could be added.

        Warm Regards,
        Sayuj N

        • thanks sayuj for the helpful info. will help a lot of us who don’t know about the toxic thing in the seeds.

          • Specifically:
            Warnings – Red arils (covering on seed) are reportedly toxic in children, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and death.

            Contraindications – Bitter melon is contraindicated in pregnant women as it can induce bleeding, contractions, and abortion.

  33. This seems really simple and quick recepie and will definitely try

  34. thanks for so simple and fast receipe

  35. I have ” tons ” of qulity karelas in my home ths season.will try this recipe. thanks.
    Sydney, Australia

  36. lgv to try

  37. I love karela too and this karela has been a family favorite , we make it without peeling n with seeds.
    My husband doesn’t like karela n now i have experimented with this veggie so much so that he has at least started eating this….:) 🙂

    • Thank you for this Karela recipe, I made it already many times and this is the only way I will make it. It’s easy, simple and very tasty.

      • thanks svetlana.

        • Hey Dassana Amazing recipe!! will definitely make it regularly but was wondering if I could presteam the karela for five minutes to cut down on the oil used? do you think it would work?
          On another note, since you live in Goa I wondered if you ever use the kokum butter that they sell in the markets for cooking. The locals all assured me about its health benefits. Do you know anything about it, I was hoping to make a vegan butter recipe that i found online that uses cocoa butter and use it for baking etc. I made raagi biscuits yesterday and the texture was pretty amazing and taste was also barely noticeable. I would love to know your thoughts on it for regular use, if its healthy safe etc. What struck me was its extremely high smoking point.

          • hi karuna. yes you can pre steam the karela. i also steam them sometimes and then lightly saute in oil. i have heard of kokum butter, but i have not been able to find it in goa, at least where we lived. i hit ave heard, it can be used as a replacement for butter in cookies and sweets etc. since i have not used it, not sure how it works. you made ragi biscuits with cocoa butter? thats wow!!!

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