Karela Masala

Another karela recipe 🙂 – This one is not too bitter, as karela is paired with onions. This makes the vegetable slightly sweet. Nutritious and easy to make – quick sabzi.

It goes well with both rotis and rice.


This recipe is an entry to Pooja’s Vegetable of the Week – Bitter Gourd event (her blog My Creative Ideas).




Karela (Bitter gourd): 4 small ones

Onion: 1 large

Green chillies: 2

Turmeric powder: ½ teaspoon

Red chilly powder: ½ teaspoon

Coriander (dhania) powder: ½ teaspoon

Garam masala powder: ¼ teaspoon

Dry bay leaf (Tej patta): 1

Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 stick (optional)

Sugar/Jaggery: 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon

Oil: 1 teaspoon



  1. Clean, deseed and chop the karela into ½ inch cubes.
  2. Finely chop the onion and green chillies.
  3. Cook the karela with about 1½ cups of water with a pinch of turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 whistles (or around the time it takes to cook rice). Wait for the steam to be released from the cooker.
  4. Once the steam is released from the cooker, drain the water from the karela. This karela water can be consumed like juice (tho bitter) – it has health benefits – it is even recommended for diabetics. As we cook in water with salt, the bitterness is reduced. However, its bitter gourd after all – it will be slightly bitter – but with onions, the bitterness is considerably reduced.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan (I use non-stick). Add the mustard seeds to the oil and let it pop. Also, add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  6. Add the chopped onions and green chillies. Sauté on low heat till the onions are soft and cooked.
  7. Add in the karela, spice powders, sugar and salt to taste – keep in mind that the karela has some salt in it during pressure cooking.
  8. Mix well but take care not too crumble the karela as it is already well cooked (from the pressure cooker).
  9. Roast for a few minutes so that the flavors blend well and the karelas are a little crispy.
  10. Turn off the heat and serve! You can enjoy it with rotis as well as rice.
  11. You can prepare the dish by cooking the karela directly with onions – this will surely increase the taste. However, I pressure cooked it to take off some of the bitterness and use lesser oil.

5 Responses to “Karela Masala”

  1. Another nice entry from you Jan.
    thanks for this second entry buddy :).
    See you at the round up.

    From skribles: Thanks Pooja. Looking forward to the round-up.

  2. Interesting combination of bittergourd and onions…

    From skribles: Thanks Jayashree.

  3. hi,if u add jaggery or sugar in curry,is it good for diabetic patience?plz reply to my id

    From skribles: Thanks for visiting Somya … I think you might want to skip the sugar/jaggery for diabetics.

  4. Very delecious

  5. Mast hai
    maja aa gaya
    i m waiting for next delicious dish of karela

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