Bittergourd pickle (Karathe nonche)

My mom’s pickles are very famous among our friends and family. She even gives them to most of the functions at the temples at our native. Her pickles had the perfect blend of spice, salt, asafoetida etc. She uses a very little oil in them. We always ask my mom to start a pickle business, but she thought we are just kidding.

I never like the store bought pickles because of oil. They look like made of oil and oil just spoils the entire taste.

I have been trying some of the pickles these days. I loved the bitter gourd pickle. When I was a kid, I never ate this, but my mom would keep ready a batch of this for my dad. He simply loved this.

Bitter gourd (cut into thin slices) 2 cups
Green chillies (cut into slits) 1 cup
Oil 2 tea spns
Mustard seeds 1 and 1/2 tea spns
Fenugreek(methi) seeds ¼ tea spn
Turmeric ¼ tea spn
Asafoetida ¼ tea spn
Jaggery ½ tea spn
Tamarind ½ tea spn
Mom adds 1 cup of chillis to 1 cup bitter gourd. I reduced the proportion because the chillies I used were too hot.
Jaggery and Tamarind can be increased to suit the taste.

Add 1 tea spn of salt to bitter gourd pieces and keep aside for 30mins. Squeeze off the water.
Heat 1 and ½ tea spn oil and fry the bitter gourd pieces. Add turmeric and when the bitter gourd is half cooked, add chillies (if added in the beginning, chillies cook faster and bitter gourd remains raw).
When bitter gourd and chillies get a brownish color, stop cooking. Let them cool to room temperature.
Heat remaining oil and fry mustard and fenugreek seeds (fry on a low flame. If the amount of fenugreek becomes more or mustard gets burnt, the pickle becomes bitter). Add asafoetida and grind this to a smooth paste along with jaggery.
Add the masala and tamarind extract (directly use the tamarind extract available in market without adding water, if using normal tamarind, extract thick pulp using water) to the bitter gourd-chilli mixture. Mix well. Check for salt (bitter gourd retains some salt from first step). If required, add salt.
This pickle can be used soon after preparing. Store it in an airtight container in refrigerator. It remains good for around 15 days.


40 thoughts on “Bittergourd pickle (Karathe nonche)”

  1. Hi Shilpa ….Looks delicious. I have never eaten this before. True your mom is a pickle expert. I have pur two karelas from the Indain store just last evening, and i am going to try this today. Tell me one thing, are you using a tamarind paste. Do you get this in the Indian store. Thanks for posting a different nonche.

  2. Yes aruna, you can get “Tamarind concentrate” from “TAMCON”. I like to use it instead of normal tamarind because, there wont be any rind and it makes the cooking easier.

  3. I have never tasted bittergourd pickle at all. I have seen my aunt adding bittergourd in mixed veg pickle, but bittergourd alone in pickle seems different. Thanks for the recipe..

  4. Shilpa,
    nice recipe.With Bittergourd I used make only fry.But now I came to know even about pickle from your blog.Thank you for sharing.I will give a try for sure, because Bittergourd is good for health.

  5. Shilpa….I tried this last week, but could leave a comment here. It tastes amazing!!! You said it will last for 15 days, but we finished in two days. Thanks for sharing a lovely pickle.

  6. shilpa-
    i found your recipe while searching for a bitter-gourd pickle recipe. I’m quite fond of the store-bought ones and i thought they must be much better from scratch . thank you so much for sharing this recipe of your mother’s… i have heaps of bitter-gourds right now from my garden where the beautiful vines have traveled past my 8-foot trellises and are embracing my tomatoes as well. have you or anyone ever used the tender leaves/shoots for cooking?

  7. Pelicano, I haven’t used the leaves/shoots anytime. I will see if I can get hold of any recipes (I am not very sure if the leaves are used in any dishes).

  8. actually the only concern I had was the water in pickle… Usually if there is water, pickle get rotton. I actually make lots of karela but with the dry spices instead of jaggery I wonder if it will be any different, still gonna try it and do you use it warm or just cold like any other pickle?

    Will let you know:-)

    btw I came here from foodie’s hope blog:-)

  9. Ok.. I tried it this saturday & to my surprise it was same as I make it.. I mean after adding mustard, fenugreek seeds & sweet chutney(instead of jaggery & tamarind) it was same taste as I make it without adding these.. I was thinking with these additional stuff it will be different but I enjoyed it anyway:-) the only different thing was I really liked the idea of green chille in it and I slit it but put it as whole so I was great.. I usually fry it seperate but now I can just throw them in it:-)

    Will try your other recipes too.. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Bitter melon, onions, eggs and peanuts, stir-fried with panch phoran « Elaichi et Cetera…

  11. Hi Shilpa,
    its really very tasty, I love Karela in any form, even raw, but this pickle is outstanding. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. seems very simple and fast to prepare….will try it as soon as possible….thanx
    i love preparing pickles and chutneys…if u have any new additions…please try to inform me……

  13. I was going to try your recipe but wonder what is “Asofoetida”?
    Also, have you tried adding garlic, mango-ginger and haldi-ginger and regular garlic to the recipe?

    Shilpa: Asafoetida is hing/ingu. I haven’t tried any other additions to this pickle yet.

  14. In this same way we may Bitterguard chatney powder bit of dry coconut and little jagary powder chilli powder salt to taste and small pieces of bitterguard should be dry fry

  15. hi Silpa, you took lot of trouble, pictures etc. the receipe sounds amazing, i am a karela fan. Just a suggestion, if you add little bit of vinegar, it prolongs pickle life without changing taste.I am always experimenting pickles. Thanks so much.

  16. I love this pickle. This is one recipe you can make and keep for couple of weeks and eat healthy bitter gourd everyday.

  17. I recommend ‘LAKSHMI ‘ brand tamarind extract. I used to use Tamcon. I feel it has lots of additives….looks & tastes artificial.

  18. Hi Shilpa . The pickle recipe is really yummy. Please keep posting me your lastest additions too. Thanks & Regards,

  19. just tried it at home, it has distinct taste and very crisp mix of flavors …brilliant recipe..i thought without red chilli it might taste bland also it needs very low oil
    i wuld dry ground the mustard and feengreekseeds rather than use oil

  20. I tried it out, and was very happy with the taste the blend of spices offered to the bitter gourd .thank you for the recipe

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