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How to Make Tasty Bitter Gourd Curry (Hagalkai Palya)

Cooking is one of my passions. I like to make nutritious and tasty foods at home without using preservatives and artificial colors.

Bitter gourd curry is also known as hagalkai palya

Bitter gourd curry is also known as hagalkai palya

Bitter Gourd Curry

Eating bitter gourd has many health benefits. It is known for its medicinal properties. It is considered to be good for heart health and liver health, and it is also thought to help improve the immune system.

Though this vegetable is a little bitter in taste, this particular bitter gourd curry is delicious. This is because 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. In fact, I believe they are actually tastier than some curries that are made with other vegetables.

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Bitter gourd curry, also called hagalkai palya, is a simple dish made with very few ingredients. It took me only about 30-40 minutes to make this dish. 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.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

40 min

4 servings


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


  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 the nutrients remain intact. Collect the bitter gourd in a plate.
  3. In a mixer or blender, add coconut, mustard seeds, and red chilies. Coarsely grind them. Set aside.
  4. Start this curry with a tempering. For that, heat the oil in a kadhai (pan). Throw in the mustard seeds. Let them pop up. Add dehusked black gram split (urad dal), curry leaves, and hing powder. 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 should become tender. Add tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, jaggery, and salt. Add some water. Mix well. Let the contents boil for a few minutes or until the bitter gourd gets cooked and almost dry.
  6. Add the 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!

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