Bitter Gourd Curry

This is a delicious bitter-sweet-hot-and-sour dish that goes well as a side-dish with any meal.


Serves 4


200g bitter gourd, trimmed and cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm thick rounds and then into quarters

1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste if needed

1 tablespoon de-seeded tamarind

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

7-10 dried red chilli peppers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

Jaggery to taste



  1. Place the bitter gourd pieces in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Mix and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, dry-roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies separately in a small pan until fragrant and slightly darker in shade. Transfer to an electric blender and blend to a smooth powder.
  3. Extract the juice of tamarind using 1 cup/250ml water.
  4. Heat the oil in a medium pan. Add the onions and cook until golden, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Discard the water released by the bitter gourd and add to the pan. Stir well and add the tamarind water.
  7. Cover and cook until the bitter gourd pieces are half done. Add the spice powder and mix.
  8. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bitter gourd is cooked. You may add extra water if required to prevent the mixture from burning.
  9. Add the jaggery and mix. When the jaggery has melted, check for the seasonings and adjust as required.
  10. Remove from the heat. Leave the dish for 30 minutes for the flavours to blend, before serving.

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