Kakara Kaya Vepudu – Bitter Gourd Stir fry

Usri Kaya pachadi, kakara kaya vepudu, pappu anapakaya with white rice

As a child, just hearing the word ‘Kakarakaya’ aka ‘bittergourd’ from my mother would keep me away from the day’s meal. It was only as a young teenager that I began to start liking it ever since I tasted a bittergourd stir fry with toasted cashewnuts at a cousin’s wedding. I would never have tasted it had I known it was bittergourd. It didn’t look like bittergourd that I disliked but with pleasing looks, an appetite-pleasing vegetable stir fry, cashewnuts and all. When told it was kakarakaya vepudu, with disbelief writ on my face, I asked for a second helping. My love for this knobbly, bitter-tasting vegetable grew leaps and bounds since then.

Sometimes we’re hesistant to give vegetables that we are resistant to, a second chance to prove themselves. Bittergourd haters, maybe you should give bittergourd a second try, you’ll be sold forever. ๐Ÿ™‚ And those with diabetes should definitely give bittergourd high priority in their daily meals.

Bittergourd, Kakarakaya, Karela

The following is a favorite in our home, a nicely roasted stir fry with a tangy sweet flavor.

Kakarakaya Vepudu

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  bittergourd


  •   1/4 kg bitter gourd, peel, slice into rounds
  •   big pinch turmeric pwd
  •   1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste (adjust)
  •   2 medium onions, finely sliced
  •   1-2 tsps jaggery pwd
  •   1 1/2 tbsps oil
  •   salt to taste
  • For seasoning/poppu/tadka:

  •   1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  •   pinch of asafoetida/hing/inguva
  •   10-12 curry leaves
  • Dry roast and make a fine powder:

  •   1 tsp coriander seeds
  •   1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  •   2 dry red chillies
  •   pinch of fenugreek seeds/methi

Method for making Kakarakaya Vepudu

Add two cups of water, tamarind paste, turmeric and salt to the peeled bittergourd rounds. Cook for 15 mts or till the bitter gourds are three-fourth cooked. Drain any left over water and keep aside the cooked bitter gourd pieces.
Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the sliced onions and fry for 6-7 mts till they turn brown.
Add the ground spice pwd and jaggery and combine well.
Add the cooked bitter gourds and stir fry. Constantly stir fry on medium heat ensuring they don't burn or stick to the pan. Keep frying till they well roasted and this could take about 15-18 mts.
Adust salt and serve hot with rice.


29 thoughts on “Kakara Kaya Vepudu – Bitter Gourd Stir fry

  1. I love these even when i was a kid…huh! I am lying….i have never come across kids who love these but as u grow u tend to like them due to their health benefits :).Now i try to make them often…

  2. Wo ho….give me a choice between paneer and bittergourd and i wud pick karela anytime….i can eat it day in and out….stirfried,deepfried,in curries,with onions,stuffed karelas,and i even sundry the scraps of karela skins and roast it on Tawa with bit of salt,till crisp brown…it tastes heavenly with smooth gourd curry along with piping hot khichdi….gosh i m craving for some bitter wonder now….
    I am gonna make this tomorrow itself …lovely recipe !

  3. Hi Sailu ,
    i’m Punitha.
    Your recipe is a different one to me.
    Usually I roast bittergourd only with salt and chilli powder and
    turmeric powder.
    But yours is very nice to see and i’ll try it tomorrow itself.
    Thank you Sailu…

  4. i too hated BG and some other vegetables like beerakai,sorakai and potlakai when i was a kid ,but as i grew up i started liking them. but now my kids hate the same vegetables. believe it or not, my sister used to love kakarakai koora even as a kid!

  5. I am Bitter gourd lover..I Like all the dishes prepared with it…this is a new recipe for me..i will try it this week end…I have a doubt…is it possible to skip jaggery in the above recipe.. please do let me know..


    You could skip jaggery but then it adds more flavor to the bittergourd along with tang.

  6. Hi shailu

    Your kakarakaya vepudu is too good. I tasted one more variety where the vegetable is not cooked before frying. Could you share the recipe if you have it?


  7. hai sailu gaaru, i dont know ur full name. ur website is really fabulous. i like to go through all ur recipes and have tried many. They tasted really good, thank u. i live in gulf. i like ur website, chala clear ga raastaarandi meeru.

    sailu, i like u so much. can u reply me plz? and display ur pic. thank u so muchhhhhh for tasty recipes. i’ll try this recipe tommorrow.

    Thank you for you feedback and sweet words, Reshma garu. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi sailu,

    naaku mee receipes chala istam.juz came through ur blog and started trying each and every receipe.thanks a lot for ur posts.me and my husband like BG a lot.i would try this receipe.

  9. Hello,

    I prepared ‘kakarakaya vepudu’ today and came out very well. Being a very novice cook and preparing such a dish – ah what can I say, all the credit goes to you for giving this receipe. Thanks a ton. Also, thanks to my sister who introduced me to this website.

  10. Hi Sailu,

    Today i tried this curry with your okra pulusu. both came out very very well. I’m always apprehensive about first cooking bitter gourd in tamarind water and then frying. your recipe is awesome. the powder adds such a nice touch. thank you so much.

  11. I think the key ingredients in this dish are the fennel seeds, which set the dish apart from a regular vepudu. I didn’t want to throw away the water in which I boiled the vegetables, and so made an equally tasty pulusu instead.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi, Thanks a lot for the recipe. This is the most likable dish in my home. All our family likes this Karela very much. If given a choice between chicken and karela, we all go for karela :).
    Anyways Thanks Sailu ji for presenting this recipe.

  13. Thanks Sailu garu. Making a repulsive vegetable likable is a big challenge. The fry has has come out really well. Thanks very much for the recipe.

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