Bittergourd Stir-fry

Bittergourd, as the name suggests is bitter in taste but has enormous health benefits. It is also called as Pavakkai, Karela, Kakarakaya.

Bittergourd is a great source of several nutrients.It is rich in Vitamin C and fiber. It helps in weight reduction and to keep the blood sugar level under control.

Bittergourd reduces cholesterol level and it supports overall heart health. It also has cancer fighting properties.

Though it has many health benefits, it is not liked by many because of the bitter taste. Mostly children do not like them. My kids too!!

Cooking it this way, makes it a best and liked side dish by everyone. Adding oil little-by-little, reduces the quantity of oil used. I have also mentioned the method to reduce the excess bitterness from bittergourd.

Bittergourd stir-fry goes well as a side dish for all rice recipes especially sambar rice, rasam rice, dal rice, mor kulambu etc..,

Give it a try and you will end up making it again and again for sure❤


1 cup= 200 ml.

  • Bittergourd- 5, medium sized one’s or it makes 2 heaped cups when sliced as circles
  • Onion- 1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Red chilli powder with coriander powder mix- 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder- 1/4th tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4th tsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Split urad dal- 3/4th tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Salt- as needed.


Clean the bittergourd well, slice it as circles and remove the seeds from them.
This method is to remove the excess bitterness from it. Add salt in excess (I added 1 tsp of salt) to the sliced bittergourd and mix it.
Skip this step, if it’s not needed for you.
Leave it for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, rinse the bittergourd well with water, atleast 3 to 4 times to remove the excess salt in it. Drain the water from it.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
Once the mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal and cumin seeds.
Add finely chopped onions and saute till it turns translucent.
Once the onions turn translucent, add the drained bittergourd slices.
Saute bittergourd in oil along with onion for a minute. Keep the flame in medium.
Add the asafoedita powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder with coriander powder mix and salt as needed ( remember bittergourd is rubbed with salt initially. It will have some salt left after rinsing with it).
Mix the masala with bittergourd slices and saute it in medium flame till the bittergourd shrinks, cooked completely and turns brown.
Add oil little-by-little only as needed to saute.

It is cooked completely, shrieked well and turned brown. Switch off the flame now.


  • Using sesame oil gives a good taste.
  • Adding more onions improves the taste of the side dish.
  • If you want to use bittergourd with seeds in it, you can. Removing the seeds reduces the bitterness.
  • If you want it to be more spicy, add 1 more tsp of red chilli powder with coriander powder mix.
  • Sambar powder can be used in place of red chilli powder with coriander powder mix.