Cook's Hideout: Kakarakaya Tomato Kura (Bitter gourd-Tomato Curry)

July 11, 2014

Kakarakaya Tomato Kura (Bitter gourd-Tomato Curry)

My MIL made this kakarakaya/ bitter gourd curry when she visited us last month. There are quite a few ways to take the bitterness away from bitter gourd, like boiling them with a souring agent like yogurt or tamarind and then squeezing out the bitter water. But this time my MIL salted thinly chopped bitter gourd pieces and refrigerated them overnight. In the morning, she squeezed out the water and made the curry in the pressure cooker.
Both refrigerating the salted bitter gourd and making the curry in the pressure cooker was new to me, so I promptly wrote down the recipe to post it here for future reference.
Kakarakaya Tomato Kura (Bitter gourd-Tomato Curry)

This is going to be a short post. I am currently in India with the kids for summer vacation. The past few days have been quite interesting with us trying all different things to overcome jet lag. But nothing seems to work and we are still waking up right in the middle of the night and sleeping through the afternoons. Hopefully we'll overcome this phase and will enjoy the vacation before it finally comes to an end (keeping my fingers crossed).
Kakarakaya Tomato Kura (Bitter gourd-Tomato Curry)
Kakarayaka - 3~4 medium, lightly peeled and chopped into thin pieces
Onions - 1 large, chopped
Green Chilies - 2~3, sliced
Tomatoes - 2 medium, chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - ½tsp
Red Chili powder - 1tsp (adjust as per taste)
Ground Coriander - ½tsp
Fenugreek seeds - ¼tsp
Cumin Seeds - ½tsp
Cilantro - 2tbsp, finely chopped
Salt - to taste


  • Add 1tsp salt to the chopped bitter gourd pieces, mix well and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, rinse the pieces under water, then drain and squeeze the extra water from the bitter gourd and set aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat 2tbsp oil; add fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the onions and green chilies. Cook till the onions are translucent and turning lightly brown around the edges. 
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the bittergourd pieces and saute for 8~10 minutes or until the pieces are almost cooked through, but not completely tender.
  • Add salt, red chili powder, ground coriander and the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and cook for about 2~3 minutes.
  • Close the lid and cook for 1~2 whistles. Let the pressure subside, open the lid and add the jaggery (if using) and mix well. If the gravy is looks too thin, then cook till you get the desired consistency.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with steamed rice.

Linking this to Valli's 'Cooking from Cookbook Challenge: July -- Week 2'.



  1. That's a new tip for me too pavani..though I don't eat karela, make it for hubby as he loves it...enjoy your vacation, hope your sleep pattern gets changed soon..:)

  2. I hope you get over the jetlag soon Pavani and enjoy your vacations and get some more awesome recipes like this from your MIL.

  3. We are huge fans of this veggie and this is surely to be featured in our menu. Nice recipe Pavani :)

  4. I love bitter gourd and this loos delicious to try..

  5. I've never liked bitter gourd but maybe I will try with those tips you suggested - good info for me


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