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Kakarakaya Vepudu / Karela / Bitter-Gourd Stir Fry

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Recipe Cooked, Photographed and Written by Praveena

PrepTime:15 mins   CookTime:10 mins  Cuisine:Indian

Bitter Gourd/Karela/ Kakarakaya is one vegetable which is not liked by many people. Main reason is its bitter to very bitter taste. This veggie is available throughout the year in India. So, being an Indian I am totally acquainted to various recipes using Bitter Gourd/ Karela.

While every recipe has its own technique to subside the bitterness of the bitter gourd/karela. This stir fry is one such recipe using Karela as the main ingredient and has a peculiar method to get rid of its bitterness. 

I inherited this, kakarakaya vepudu / karela / bitter-gourd fry, recipe from my Mother. Whenever, I prepare this stir fry , for my family or guests everyone just loved this taste. I hope even you would try and like this age old Bitter Gourd / karela stir fry recipe of my dear Mom. 🙂 

Before starting to cook, don’t forget to see the Tips mentioned in the end.

My Curry recipes collection here⇒  Curry / Koora / Stir Fry

Rice recipes collection here⇒  Main Course

Chutney recipes collection here⇒ Chutney / Pachchadi / Dip

One-Pot recipes collection⇒  Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes

Related Posts: 

  1. Stuffed BitterGourd / Karela / Kakarakaya Ullikaaram Koora
  2. Beetroot-Coconut Stir Fry / Beetroot-Kobbari Koora
  3. Aratikaya Vepudu /Raw Banana Fry/ Plantain Stir Fry

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  • Karela / Bitter Gourd/ Kakarakaya – 250 gm or (8 to 10 medium size)
  • Onion – 2 medium size
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1½ teaspoons
  • Salt – 2 teaspoon
  • Cooking Oil – 3 tablespoon
  • Crushed Garlic – 1 tablespoon (optional)
  • Desiccated / fresh grated coconut – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Special Ingredients:

  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Desiccated / fresh grated coconut

Step wise pics Procedure for Kakarakaya vepudu / karela / bitter-gourd fry :

  • Wash the Bitter gourd / karela / kakarakaya . Cut off both the edges.
  • Lightly and gently scrape off the skin using the blunt side of the knife with which you cut the vegetables.
  • Then chop the bitter gourd/ kakarakaya into tiny pieces.
  • Take the pieces into a wide bowl and add 1½ teaspoons of salt.
  • With your palm, mix the salt and pieces , by tightly pressing and squeezing them against your palm. Do this for 2-3 mins.
  • Then let the pieces rest in bowl for about 10 mins.

    Bitter Gourd/Karela/Kakarakaya pieces mixed with salt and set aside
  • After 5 mins , in the meanwhile, chop the onions into same size just like the Bittergourd / Karela pieces.
  • Put a frying pan on the stove top under medium heat. Add the cooking oil.
  • When the oil is heated, add all the chopped onion pieces and crushed garlic (optional ingredient).
  • Shallow fry them until they turn transparent.
  • Now transfer all the bitter gourd/ karela pieces into the pan.
  • You can add the water too if anything has oozed out of the pieces in the bowl while squeezing out the salt.

    Bitter Gourd / Karela / Kakarakaya pieces transferred to the frying pan
  • Add the turmeric powder and remaining salt, give a thorough mix.
  • Let it shallow fry in the pan for 5 more mins.

    Perfectly softened veggies
  • Check if the bitter gourd / karela / kakarakaya pieces have softened and all the water content has evaporated. If not continue for 2 more mins.
  • Add the red chilli powder and desiccated coconut. 

    Red Chilli Powder & Desiccated coconut added to the pan
  • Mix up everything. Let it stay on flame for 2 more mins.
  • Then switch off the flame and transfer to a serving bowl. Done!!


  • Don’t peel the skin of the Bitter gourd/karela just scrape it lightly such that the small knobs on its skin are fallen off. The bitterness of this veggie lies in its skin and its seeds.
  • While squeezing its best to use your palm rather than any spatula or presser.
  • While stir frying, do not close the pan with lid.
  • Adjust the salt and spice as per your taste.
  • This, kakarakaya vepudu / karela / bitter-gourd fry, stays good at room temperature up to 2-3 days, and up to a week when refrigerator.


  • The taste of this, kakarakaya vepudu / karela / bitter-gourd fry, is not at all bitter, its perfectly spicy and yummy.
  • As this is not a wet gravy , this goes well mostly with any rice.

    Bitter Gourd Stir Fry / Karela / Kakarakaya Vepudu served with plain white rice

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