Kakarakaya Vepudu aka Karela Fry, Pavakkai Varuval, or Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

Kakarakaya Vepudu
Kakarakaya Vepudu, Karela Fry Bhaji, Pavakkai Varuval

Kakarakaya (Bitter Gourd, Karela, Pavakka) is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. The main reason for these extreme positions is the bitter taste of the vegetable.

Fortunately for me, my family loves it as much as I do. Kakarakaya Vepudu or stir-fry is the simplest way to cook this vegetable. This past Sunday, I had made Sambar Rice for lunch and so made this curry as an accompaniment.

Did you know that Kakarakaya Or Bitter Gourd is an excellent remedy for diabetes. It reduced blood glucose levels and is also an excellent blood purifier.

Time: 40 Minutes

Serves: 4


  1. Bitter Gourd – 1/2 Kg
  2. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  3. Oil – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt to Taste


  1. Dissolve 1 tsp salt in 1 litre water.
  2. Wash and dry the bitter gourd.
  3. Cut into thin discs.
  4. Add the discs to the salt water.
  5. Let the discs remain in water for 10 minutes. This helps in reducing the bitterness.
  6. Remove the discs from salt water and rinse with cold fresh water.
  7. Pat dry.
  8. If required, cut the discs into halves or quarters. I have.
  9. In a wok or kadai, heat the oil.
  10. Add the bitter gourd pieces.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Over low to medium heat, stir-fry till the edges turn to turn brown.
  13. Turn off the heat.
  14. Add a bit of salt, if required. Be careful as there is already some salt from the soaking.
  15. Add red chilli powder and mix well.


  1. I love to have Karela fry but my husband doesn’t. 🙂 I don’t add chilli powder and fry it until crispy, also add mustard sauce while eating with steamed rice. But next time I will love to try your version. 🙂

      1. Actually in Kolkata one mustard sauce is available in market……we call it “Kasundi”……..we generally buy it from the market, so don’t know how to make it 🙁 we often have it with few stir fried leaves as well…such as “Kolmi shak”, “Lal shak” etc……..

          1. As you want to know its recipe, I searched in youtube and found few……they are grinding mustard seeds (black+white/only black) along with green mango pieces, salt, sugar (little amount), turmeric powder, mustard oil and green chillies……add as little water as possible……… 🙂

    1. Absolutely, Indu. In stores that sell things from Kerala, we get dried Karela that can be fried. They are superb in texture and very light, even after deep frying. My only grouse is that they are not bitter. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.