Garlicky-sweet-spicy bittergourd

karathe bendi.jpg
When I go shopping, I have a habit of picking up any vegetable that catches my fascination. Most of the time, I don’t even know what I am going to do with it. Few days ago, I picked up some bitter gourds from Indian store. After they sat in fridge for a while, I asked aayi if she has any new recipe with it. She gave me the recipe for “Karathe Bendi” (D in bendi is pronounced as ‘th’ in ‘this’) – A Konkani dish, which I had never tasted before. Unfortunately I did not write it down, by the time I started cooking, I remembered only some parts of the recipe. So I cooked this based on some guess work. It came out really good. Finally I have found something with bitter gourd that we both enjoy.

1 cup bitter gourd(karathe)
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn chilli powder
1/4 tea spn tamarind
1 tea spn jaggery(optional)

Seasoning :
2 tea spns chopped garlic

Cut bitter gourd into small pieces. Add some salt and keep aside for 15mins. Squeeze off the juices (this step removes the bitterness, but removes a lot of health benefits of this vegetable too. For this dish, this step is not actually necessary).
Heat oil and add onions. Fry them till they turn brownish. Add bitter gourd, salt(if it was added before, be careful while adding salt again), red chilli powder and fry till bitter gourd is cooked. Add tamarind and jaggery. Mix well and cook till jaggery is melted and mixed well.
In another pan, heat oil and add chopped garlic. Fry till they are brownish. Add this to the bitter gourd. Serve hot.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

25 thoughts on “Garlicky-sweet-spicy bittergourd”

  1. No one likes bitter gourd at my place so i hardly get any. Must try it with if i get some in the farmers market. Looks delicious.

  2. Oh I love bittergourd in any form! I have a bitter gourd theeyal recipe with coconut and tamarind, this one reminds me of that. Hope you are doing well Shilpa!

  3. hii

    looks sooo yummyy.. your blog is really veryy nice with lots of recipes that are mouth watering…

    ive also created my blog few days back.. when you find time please have a look at my blog and i would wecome your comments..

    my blog’s name is



  4. Dear Shilpa,

    Some intution you and I have got.. I bought bitter gourd chopped it and applied salt and kept,, was wondering what to do and you post this recipe…. Zillion thanks and the recipe looks awesome.. am sure its gonna taste good too…


  5. My MIL made this for me earlier this year and I was so hooked on to it that I made it every weekend until my husband complained that I was out to destroy his taste buds! Still love it tough:)

  6. Vathsala S. Basrur

    Hello, Shilpa,
    If you and other readers like a less bitter,tender and more fleshy bitter melon, you must try Chinese bitter melon which is usually larger in size. You do not have to squeeze out the water. It tastes exactly like the Indian counterpart.

  7. I so know what you mean… I buy the local veggies I get here and sometimes even ask the vegetable vendor what to do with these veggies.

    Last weekend, in Rajasthan, I bought some very local veggies… when I asked the vendor how to cook them, a passerby told me and then they all found it so amusing, they laughed.

    I have taught a lady how to cook tendli at the supermarket 🙂

    I haven’t heard of bendi with karathe… will try it sometime 🙂 This seems like a cross between bendi and song though 🙂

  8. Shilpa, you have turned bitter gourd curry into a tempting one! Surely the pic makes me crave for it! I will try this dish with simple list of ingr.! Tks for sharing!

  9. I recently made karela curry for the first time, something similar to this. I loved it…will try your version next time.
    nice pic…am drooling over it.

  10. I made something very similar to this last week, and it was fabulous – it’s my favorite karela recipe. Yum!

  11. Thank you Shilpa for this wonderful Karathe recipe. It turned out perfect & was a good change from the regular dish that I make of it.

  12. Sonia Pereira Deuri

    I love bitter gaurd. The bitter gourd preparation I know does not have onion or garlic in it. It involves just boiling the gaurd with jaggery,salt, tumeric, chilli and drying off the water. add tamarind last & cook for 2 mins & take off fire. Garnish the dish by breaking mustard,curry leaves and dry red chilies in a little oil.

  13. Shilpa,

    I too have a habit of browsing the google like many others for recipes and couldn’t help stop by specially when your site looks so organized and appealing. Good work!

    My family loves bitter-gourd, specially my husband, and I’m going to try this one (it looks delicious already). Thanks for the recipe. I will share some of my, and my family’s recipes with you soon.


  14. Ok, couldn’t resist coming back as I just remembered that I made these delicious bittergourd for lunch yesterday. Please feel free to try it and modify as you wish.

    This one was handed down by my mother-in-law’s grandmother to her and now to me. Must try!

    ‘Dhaage-waaley kareley’

    5-6 small karelas
    Mustard Oil

    For stuffing:
    -Amchur Powder 2-3 spoons
    -Dhaniya pwd 1 tspn
    -Chilli pwd 1 tspn or more
    -Garam Masala 1 tspn
    -Haldi 1/2 tspn
    -1 small boiled potato
    Salt to taste

    Peel the karelas lightly, wash, slit them in between and rub lots of salt and keep aside overnight.
    Wash them thoroughly and drain all water completely.

    Mix all dry powders with the boiled potato and stuff the karelas (be careful of the salt content as you’ve already soaked the karelas in salt overnight). Now take a sewing thread and secure the stuffed karelas lightly to keep the masalas in place. Shallow fry in mustard oil till golden brown. These will stay in the fridge for a few days and can be served (hot or room temp) with plain parathas, rice or just chew them as it is.

    Good Luck!

  15. hi shilpa
    I just love karela and this recipe rocks. I have similar one.
    here is the recipe
    Mix tamarind juice, dahi and little salt. Cut Karela into lengthwise and marinate in the dahi mixture. Put it in the fridge for abt 2 hours.
    Then fry this karela till it is dark brown. keep it aside.
    Add lots of garlic and onion in the same oil. Fry till transulent. Then add chilli powder and jaggery.
    Finaly add karela and mix well.
    This goes really well with chapati.
    I also have some pictures of this recipe. Let me know if you would like me to send them to you.


    Shilpa: Thanks for the recipe Deepa. No, I do not want picture, I do not post the pictures that I did not click (just for to avoid any copyright issues). Thanks for the offer though.

  16. i didnt have tamarind so i used tamarind pase, however it didn’t really seem to enhance the flavour of the dish. I then decided to add some lemon juice…..and bam! all of a sudden the flavours all came together.

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