karela for one and all....two stir fries to make you crave for it...

Does karela or bitter guards make a pretty picture for you. For me it certainly does. I like the way it's lush green pericarp is engraved in an intricate pattern . Do you say puckered ? Okay ..puckered it is but how beautiful the slices look ...those who chop will know what i mean .

And how convenient this vegetable is as there is no peeling and scraping involved and gets sliced or chopped within minutes...

This is what i do when i buy a large bagful of karela . The smaller ones are chopped finely to make a scramble type of stir fry and the bigger ones are chopped in bigger chunks or half moon slices to make a chunkier looking stir fry... And the same vegetable makes two very different stir fries.

Also , once cleaned and chopped , karala can be refrigerated for longer time , up to a week so make the two or three types of karela stir fries in a week once you have them chopped and secured in lidded containers.

Do not discard the skin or seeds of bitter gurads . All parts are edible and you just need to trim off the stalk attached to the fruit (technically speaking)...

So the bigger guards are cut in to thicker (1 cm or more) half moon slices and stir fried with potato cubes cut to almost the same size as bitter guards.

The potatoes soak in some of the bitterness and become tastier actually. And bitter guards become a bit less bitter in exchange....This is the most simple stir fry as only powder spices are used and cooking time is very less.

The potatoes are fried in mustard oil ( without any tempering ) first . The potatoes are not peeled in my case and you can also try if you don't do that already .

Rubbing off the grime from the potato skin is enough to clean and the peel makes it more tasty when fried or roasted .

So the potato cubes are fried first so they get half cooked and ready to take the flavors of karela fast. I like the karela slices to be just cooked or even half cooked so add karela only when the potatoes are half cooked. You can add them earlier if you want them browned a bit more , but believe me once and cook them as they look here in the picture and you would meet a new avatar of karela.

Powdered , turmeric , red chilly powder and a little cumin and coriander powder is all that is added to the stir fry. Do not cook much after adding the powder spices as they would get burnt and spoil the flavor.

Serve hot with daal chawal as a side dish as most of the north Indian families do with karela . I like it wrapped in a chapati too and have seen some people who like it with plain parathas....you decide how you would like it most.

The lightly browned bitter guard slices and potatoes with skin . A very unique combination as the potato skin also imparts a nice flavor...does it look like a sunshine stir fry ?

To me it does. I decided to upload so many pictures to entice more and more karela haters to try this sunshine once and be with it forever :-)

And now comes another bowl of sunshine...

the scramble type karela made with fennel and a peanut powder mix.

A spicy nutty scramble to stuff inside a chapati roll . I do that many times even for a quick snacking.

I am listing the ingredients for this as it requires a few more than the last one...

The quantity is large and you would like to make a large quantity simply because this is such a yummy thing to have , and also because it refrigerates well for about a month....

fine chopped bitter guards 4-5 cups (500-600 gm)
fennel seeds 1 tbsp
cumin seeds 2 tsp
ajwain seeds 1 tsp
everyday curry powder 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1 tbsp
peanut powder 1/2 cup
red chilly powder 2 tsp or more if you wish
fennel powder 2 tsp
amchoor powder 2 tsp or a bit more if you feel like
mustard oil or any other oil 2 tbsp
salt to taste


Mix the peanut powder with red chilly powder, fennel powder and amchoor powder , mix well and keep aside.

Mix the everyday curry powder and turmeric powder with 2 tbsp of water and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a kadai and throw in the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and ajwain and wait till they crackle a bit , take care not to burn ajwain ans tip it in the last....add the soaked everyday curry masala and turmeric powders immediately into the oil and fry for about 20 seconds.

Tip in the chopped bitter guards and salt to taste and keep stir frying on medium to low flame for a longer period of time as the stir fry needs to be dehydrated without getting burnt. 

It will be convenient to keep stirring at low flame as there is less oil as compared to the quantity of the chopped guards , slow frying and doing other things on the sly is a good idea when you do multitasking.

Add the peanut powder mix when the bitter guard is cooked , it takes about 10 minutes of frying on low flame. Mix well and keep stirring for 2 more minutes and you would be able to sniff a roasted peanut and fennel aroma in the stir fry scramble...

Yes it is indeed a scramble , a bhurji as we like to call it . Something you would have daily as a side dish when you have it in the fridge...

A simple daal chawal meal and such a flavorful bhurji to go with it...a not so bitter bitter guard recipe....

Do you remember this karela mash ? Go take a look if you are new to this site.This is my on and off detox regime , i boil the vegetables in bulk and mash a portion daily for a quick bowl of soupy concoction , this one has been adopted by many of my friends and readers and liked by them too , i am taking about liking the taste and not what it does to their bodies.....because that is noticeable much later...

Enjoy good health and stimulate your taste buds too .... the ones who are dormant ...


  1. Awwwwwww, the 2nd one is awesome.......... I love karelas (have loved them since I was a kid :-P) and make variations of the first one, or sometime just karela with loads of onions, which was the most common back home..... Time to get karelas.... :)

  2. Just made this yday ...you have fried it so well ..nice

  3. I am not too fond of karelas unless cooked with potatoes. Your alu karela looks yummy

  4. I crave for everything you put here on the blog ... and now this one too have added to the listtttttttttttt...


  5. I am not a great fan of karela.. But loved your clicks..

  6. I've never had these before! They look really pretty.

  7. I love karela but i hardly make it at home.When ever my mom does karela she keeps it in the fridge and gets me when ever she is visiting me.

  8. Hi sangeeta,
    I made the stirfry with peanut. It was very good. reminded me of the stuffed karelas i used to have in my marwadi friends house.i guess it had the same spices. Thanks for the recipe. only change i made was i used coriander powder instead of curry powder.


    1. Thanks Vini. Glad you liked it. This stir fry keeps well in the fridge for about a month.
      I love hearing such feedback for my recipes :-)

  9. Karela is my all time favourite. Apart from light fry, mash with potatoes we also have it as the bitter ingredient in shukto. I had planted about 8 seeds and I got a bumper harvest for several months. since it is a climber after initial care the creeper needs very little maintenance.

  10. Never been able to grow karela however hard I tried :-(


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