Healthy Curries: How to Make Tasty Bitter Gourd Curry

Updated on May 11, 2017
ShailaSheshadri profile image

Cooking is one of my passions. Though I am working, I make nutritious and tasty food at home. My food has less oil and no artificial color.

Some Information About Bitter Gourd Curry

Eating bitter gourd has many health benefits. It is known for its medicinal properties. It is considered good for heart health, liver health, and helps improve the immune system.

Though this vegetable is a little bitter in taste, bitter gourd curry is very delicious. The reason is that the spices in the curry combine well with the bitter gourd and gives it a wonderful taste. Here, I'll show you a method to remove the excess bitterness from this vegetable. We make many dishes using bitter gourd, and none of them taste bitter. They are, in fact, tastier than the curries made using other vegetables.

Bitter gourd curry, also called as Hagalkai palya, is a simple dish made with very few ingredients. It took me about 30-40 minutes to make this curry. The main point to remember here is that this curry needs a bit more red chilies, tamarind, salt, jaggery, etc when compared to other similar curries. This version goes well with flatbread, cooked rice, roti, chapati, etc.

Bitter gourd curry/palya
Bitter gourd curry/palya
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Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Serves four people


  • 2 heaped cups bitter gourd, finely chopped, marinated with salt and bitter water squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup coconut, grated
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, for the tempering
  • 1/2 tsp dehusked black lentil/urad dal, for the tempering
  • 10 curry leaves, for the tempering
  • 5 red chilies, medium hot variety
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, for the spice mix
  • 2 pinches hing/asafoetida
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil or any other oil
  • 2 tbsp or more tamarind pulp
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp jaggery powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Step-By-Step Instructions and Images for Making Bitter Gourd Palya/Curry

  1. Wash bitter gourd. Remove and discard the seeds. Chop them as directed. Collect them in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and mix well. Leave it covered for 15-20 minutes. Don't add water.
  2. After resting, squeeze out the bitter water by holding it inside your fist and pressing. Discard this water. By doing this, the bitterness lowers and also nutrients remain in tact. Collect the bitter gourd in a plate.
  3. Take coconut, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, and red chilies in a mixer/blender. Coarse grind them. Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a kadhai or pan. Throw mustard seeds into it. Let them pop up. Add de-husked black gram split/urad dal, curry leaves, and 2 pinches of hing. Mix well. Lower the fire. When urad dal turns golden, add bitter gourd.
  5. Stir-fry on moderately high fire for 4-5 minutes. By this time, bitter gourd becomes tender. Now add tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, jaggery, and salt. Add some water. Mix well. Let the contents boil for a few minites or till the bitter gourd gets cooked and becomes almost dry.
  6. Add coconut-red chili ground mix. Stir-fry on a very low fire, for 1-2 minutes. Check for the taste. Add salt if needed.
  7. Bitter gourd curry is ready to serve. Serve it hot or warm with cooked rice or use it as a side dish for flatbread, chapati, roti, curd-rice etc. Enjoy the taste!

Step one: Prepare ground spices and bitter gourd.

Step two: Prepare the tempering.

Step three: Add the chopped bitter gourd to the pan.

Step four: Add turmeric, salt, jaggery, and tamarind pulp to the mix.

Step five: Get your mixture boiling.

Step seven: Ensure that bitter gourd is cooked.

Step eight: Add ground coconut and spice mix.

Step nine: Ensure everything is warmed and well-mixed.

bitter gourd curry or palya
bitter gourd curry or palya

Step ten: Enjoy your curry!

bitter gourd curry or palya
bitter gourd curry or palya


Submit a Comment

  • ShailaSheshadri profile image

    ShailaSheshadri 10 months ago from Bengaluru

    Thank you. This curry tastes the best with plain rice. It is good for health too. Try it.

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 10 months ago from Norfolk, England

    I've never heard of this type of curry, but it sounds lovely. I like how you've added step-by-step instructions in text and through the images. It's helpful. thankyou. =)