Karela (Bitter gourd) & Onion Subzi Recipe

Karela or Bitter Gourd is exactly as the name suggests – bitter. Despite it’s bitterness and when made well, it is a very enjoyable dish. Karela is also known for it’s health benefits – good for liver, skin, cleanses blood amongst others. Enjoy our version with a dash of tartness and a hint of sweet, just enough to make you forget you are eating and enjoying Karela or Bitter Gourd!

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 6 – 8


Bitter gourd / Karela – 2lbs (approx 1kg)
Onions – 4 small, sliced
Oil – 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Fennel Seed Powder – 1 tbsp
Lime Juice – 2 tbsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp or to taste


1. Prep the Karela by washing, removing the seeds and cutting it.
2. In a large wok, heat the Oil on medium heat.
3. Add the Fennel Seeds and cook for 30 seconds and then add in Turmeric Powder and mix.
4. Add in the Onions and Salt and mix. Allow the Onions to brown and get a caramelized about 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently.
5. Add in the Bitter Gourd and a little more Salt, just for the Bitter Gourd. Mix.
6. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring in between.
7. Once the Karela has cooked, add Fennel Seed Powder, Lemon or Lime Juice and Sugar. Mix well.
8. Cook for another 5 minutes until all the flavors are mixed in well. Adjust seasoning if needed.
9. Serve hot with Chapatis, Rotis, Rice as a side dish.

1. Cut the Karela smaller if you prefer.
2. To reduce bitterness in the Karela:
– salt the cut Karela generously
– mix well and set aside for 15 min
– drain or squeeze out the liquid.

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