Karela (bitter gourd) in Coconut-Tamarind Gravy

KarelaEvery now and then (especially after I get back from traveling), I just don’t have the produce I need to make a full meal.  Luckily, I keep an assortment of sauces, stocks, and gravies in my freezer for these occasions!  I normally make karela with onions, garlic, and tomatoes.  But, since I had none of these in my kitchen, I decided to use a Coconut-Tamarind Gravy instead (it has onions, garlic, tomatoes and much more!).

2 cups karela (bitter gourd/melon), sliced (see Step 1)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Coconut-Tamarind gravy
1/4 cup coriander, chopped


1. Wash and peel the karela.  Cut them into 1/4 inch slices and cut poke out the seeds in the middle (see thumbnail photo on left).  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of salt over the karela rings and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Rinse with cold water and drain.

2.  Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan on med-high heat.  When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop (~2-3 min).  Add the curry leaves and asafoetida. After 10 seconds, add the karela and turmeric. Mix well.

3. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the karela is tender.

5.  Gently mix in the cashews and Tamarind-Coconut gravy so that all the karela is coated. Cook for ~5 minutes, until the gravy is hot.

6. Top with coriander and serve hot with rice or bread (naan, roti, etc.) of your choice!


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