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Karela Sabzi

A classic, easy vegan recipe for karela or bitter melon, one of South Asia's most popular summer vegetables.
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 6 people


  • 4 bitter melons skin scraped with a knife, sliced length wise, deseeded and sliced in half rings (roughly 1 ½ lb)
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 large yellow onions thinly sliced in half rings (roughly 1 ½ lb)
  • 2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 roma tomatoes diced
  • 4 tablespoon cilantro finely diced for garnish (optional)


  • Generously salt sliced bitter melon and place in colander for 2 hours. Squeeze water out with your hands.
  • In a large saucepan, heat oil and fry bitter melon on low to medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  • In the same oil, add onion and fry for 10 minutes on low to medium heat till it browns evenly.
  • Add salt and spices and stir for 1 – 3 minutes. Add water to deglaze the pan if necessary.
  • Add diced tomatoes and fry on high heat for 5- 7 minutes.
  • Add the fried bitter melon. Dial heat to lowest possible point and cover. Let it steam for five minutes.
  • Add cilantro for garnish and serve with either roti or plain rice.
Keyword gluten free, Vegan