Kakarakaya Vepudu / Karela / Bitter-Gourd Stir Fry

Recipe Cooked, Photographed and Written by Praveena

PrepTime:15 mins   CookTime:10 mins  Cuisine:Indian

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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 (Andhra style) of my dear Mom. 🙂 

Possible Alterations for the recipe, ‘Karela / Kakarakaya Vepudu / Bitter-Gourd Stir Fry’:

To eliminate onions: I never tried this recipe without chopped onions, which I don’t prefer actually. Onions help to balance the bitterness of the veggie.

For additional taste, adding a tablespoon of white sesame seeds along with the chopped onions, is a good option.

Adding tamarind: You might even add 1 tablespoon of tamarind thick puree to the pan, along with the red chilli powder. Give a mix. Even this is a right ingredient used to reduce the bitterness.

Irrespective of all the above options, even though I did not add any of the above ingredients, this below recipe turned absolutely bitter free.

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Health Benefits of, ‘Karela / Kakarakaya / Bitter Melon Stir Fry’:

Bitter Gourd / Bitter Melon, is rich in anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and ProVitamin A. It reduces blood sugar and promotes immunity. Above all, it is very low in calories. 100 gms of it gives only 19 cals of energy. 

Hence, karela juice is specifically considered useful for Diabetic diet. Not just that, including Bitter Gourd / Bitter Melon in daily diet is one of the best remedies for Diabetic diets.

To Conclude, this recipe is suitable for Plant Based, Vegetarian, Vegan, Soy Free, Nut Free, Gluten Free diets and more specifically for Diabetic Diets. 

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

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  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 stir fry’ :


  • Wash the Bitter gourd / karela / kakarakaya . Cut off both the edges.
  • Using the blunt side of the vegetable knife, gently scrape off the skin lightly.
  • Chop the bitter gourd/ kakarakaya into tiny pieces.
  • Take the pieces into a wide bowl, 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. 
  • Let the pieces rest in bowl for about 10 mins.
  • After 5 mins , in the meanwhile, chop the onions into same size just like the Bittergourd / Karela pieces.


Chopped Onions in the pan with oil
Onions become transparent after shallow frying
Put a frying pan on the stove top under medium flame. Add the oil, let it heat. Then, transfer all the chopped onion pieces and crushed garlic. Shallow fry them until the onions turn transparent.
Immediately, transfer all the bitter gourd/ karela pieces into the pan. You can add the water, if anything has oozed out of the pieces in the bowl while squeezing out the salt. Add the turmeric powder, remaining salt, give a thorough mix. Let them shallow fry in the open pan for 10 mins.
Later, check if the 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. 
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.
  • Do not close the pan with lid, it would spoil the dish. There is no need to.
  • Adjust the salt and spice as per your taste.
  • Storage: This, Kakarakaya Vepudu / Karela / Bitter gourd stir fry, stays good at room temperature up to 2-3 days. Hence, this recipe is a perfect travel food.
  • And tastes good even up to a week when stored in refrigerator. Just put in an air tight container, once its cooled down to room temperature.


  • The taste of this, Kakarakaya vepudu / Karela / Bitter gourd stir fry, is not at all bitter, its perfectly spicy and yummy.
  • I generally, serve it as a side dish for steamed white rice and Instant Soup / Andhra Chaaru
  • As this is not a wet gravy, I dont prefer to serve with Roti, Phulka.

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Source: https://vegcookbook.net/2018/02/20/kakarakaya-vepudu-karela-bitter-gourd-stir-fry/

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