Kakarakaya Kura ~ Bitter Gourd Fry

MySpicyKithcen has been very cold lately. I have been extremely busy in the past few weeks entertaining guests and traveling around with my mom. Yes, mom is here and you would not believe it, it is her visit here. All these years she was reluctant to come, making excuses that she would get bored. My aunt and uncle were visiting their son in the USA and with that pretence we managed to drag her along. So far she is having a good time. Fortunately or unfortunately, she has to cut short her trip and go back to India, as her nephew is getting married. Unfortunate for me that she has to go back so early and fortunate for her, she is going back with good memories and more over she has company when going back, as I will be accompanying her. Her fear all along was that she did not want to stay for six months and was afraid she might not find company if she went back early. Since I am also going to India next month, this space is going to be relatively quiet for the next couple of months. This unexpected wedding has also hampered my plans to make mom cook some traditional telangana recipes for the blog.

Yesterday mom made kakarakaya or bitter gourd and since I do not have any kakarakay recipes here, when she started cooking, I asked her to not down the ingredients. This recipe is little different from what I usually follow. I usually slice the bitter gourd, boil it until tender and then stir fry it. In this recipe, bitter gourd is crushed into coarse pieces and then fried, skipping the boiling step altogether.

Kakarkaya or Bitter Gourd Kura

Source:My mom
Total Time: 35 – 45
Preparation Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Serves: 3 – 5

Printable Recipe

  • 3 ½ tbsp Oil
  • 3-5 Green Chilies cut lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized Onion chopped
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tbsp crushed Garlic
  • 3 tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric Powder
  • 1 large Tomato chopped (I used vine tomato)
  • 3 ½ cups coarsely grated Bitter Gourd or 6-8 baby Bitter Gourd coarsely grated
  • 2 ½ – 3 tbsp grated Jaggery
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Wash the bitter gourd and cut it into small pieces. Put them in the food processor and run it for 20 seconds. I did it in 3 batches. It depends on how big your processor bowl is.
  • Squeeze all the juices from the grated gourd. We skipped this step. Squeezing the gourd reduces the bitterness of the vegetable. The first time mom made it, she squeezed all the juice from the vegetable. The second time she made it, she forgot. Actually, my cousin and I did all the prep work, cutting and grating the vegetables. We did not squeeze the juice as my mom was tied up with something else. We assumed she would squeeze it just before cooking and she assumed we already did it. Hence she went ahead and cooked the vegetable. It turned out to be fine. So yesterday we skipped this step all together. Why put in extra labour, when there isn’t much difference in the outcome? :) If you do not like bitter vegetables, then I would strongly recommend you extract as much juice as possible from the grated vegetable. Extracted juice is very good for diabetics. You can either drink it or just discard it. Mind you, the juice is gonna be very bitter.
  • Heat oil in a pan, saute the green chilies and onions.  Add coriander powder and saute for few more seconds.
  • Add garlic, chili powder, salt, turmeric and saute for few more seconds.
  • When it turns brown or red, add the tomatoes.
  • Add coarse bitter gourd pieces and jaggery.
  • Mix well, cover and cook on medium flame for 8-10 minutes until the bitter gourd is tender.  Keep stirring it in between.
  • When the gourd is tender, remove the cover and cook on low flame for 15 – 20 minutes until it is done.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.



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