The Weekly Superfood Recipe Book: Karela

From stuffed to fried, here are some easy bitter gourd recipes to try at home.

Let’s face facts, however healthy karela or bitter gourd may be, not many fancy the taste of this Indian superfood. In fact, most of us cringed and cried whenever we were fed karela as a child. But today, as innumerable lifestyle diseases and disorders make us their prey, it’s time we realise the importance of a karela.

According to Shirin Kapadia, an independent nutritionist from Mumbai, it is one of the must-eat vegetables (superfoods), especially during the monsoons. She mentions that bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamin C (which helps boost immunity levels), iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, and folate. Adding to this, Amreen Shaikh, Dietician at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central, says, “This vegetable is high on dietary fibre and improves digestion. Karela is also good for our eyesight since it has a good amount of beta-carotene in it.”

Now, cooking with karela requires a dedicated focus  to help reap the benefits of the monsoon superfood, here is a list of recipes to get you started.

Tawa Tarkari
For beginners, we’d suggest you start with Tawa Tarkari, which is a basically a mixed vegetable dish. Karela may not be the star veggie in this dish, but the recipe will at least help you understand its texture and taste.

Karela Palya
A no-onion-no-garlic recipe that hails from Udupi, the Karela Palya boasts of a basic tadka of urad dal, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and whole, dried red chillies. The dish also has tamarind and brown sugar as two of its key ingredients, which helps lessen the bitterness of the vegetable. 

God’s Boat
A recipe by young Emanual Chauhan, God’s Boat is his attempt to help parents feed their kids some bitter gourd. The karelas in this dish come with a generous filling of chicken mince. Chauhan spikes his God’s Boat with flavours of ginger, chillies, and soya sauce. 

Karela Sabzi
A staunch believer of simple cooking, Gurdip Kohli Punj gives us an easy-to-make bitter gourd sabzi recipe that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. What makes the dish interesting is that she finishes it with some peanut powder and grated coconut. 

Bharwan Karela
Another preparation from Punj’s kitchen, this one involves stuffing the karelas with grated potatoes and basic spices. Once stuffed, they are dipped in a besan batter seasoned with salt, red chilli powder and deep fried to perfection. She ends it by placing the fried veggies into a tomato-based gravy.  

Karela Wafers
Now, this single recipe has the potential to change your perception of karela. It involves sprinkling lemon juice, chaat masala, and salt over slices of bitter gourd, coating them in rice flour, and then frying the slices until they turn deep brown.

Discover More Superfoods
Rich in nutritional value, superfoods are the easiest way to boost the health quotient of your daily meals. To discover more superfood ingredients, check out the rest of our superfood series:
Amla: This superfood can fix every part of your body! Don’t believe us? Read on to find out the health benefits of amla.


Ashwagandha: Can’t get sleep? Check out the sleep-inducing and other health-promoting properties of the Ayurveda-approved Ashwagandha.

Basil or Tulsi: Apart from simply adding flavor to meals, basil brings with it several medicinal properties. Check out the number of health conditions for which basil can come to your rescue.

Black Carrots: You’ve seen the red ones and you’ve seen the orange ones, but ever witnessed black carrots? Check out how they look and their many health benefits.

Brahmi: Are you afraid of the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s disease? Include this superfood in your diet to boost your brain health. Read about the other health benefits of Brahmi.

Camu Camu: One of the richest sources of Vitamin C, this superfood comes all the way from the Amazon rainforest! Read about its health benefits.

Chia Seeds: This Mexican native is now being used in many Indian kitchens. Check out the various health benefits of chia seeds.

Chilli: Do you love to eat spicy food? Well, good news! Check out how those spicy chilies boost your health.

Dandelion: Not only do they brighten up your garden, but dandelions also boost your health. Confused about how you can include this flower in your diet? We have answers for you right here.

Hog Plum: Looking for a remedy to cure ulcers? Tired of getting diarrhea every time you eat out? Hog plum can come to your rescue! Check out the amazing health benefits of this not so popular superfood.

Jamun: Apart from tinting your tongue purple, jamun has several medicinal properties. Here’s why you must include jamun in your diet.


Kale: Coming across a lot of kale in salads, pizza toppings, and even chips? Check out why kale has suddenly topped the charts for being a healthy option.

Kokum: Along with being a refreshing summer drink, kokum also helps you shed extra kilos. Find out more about the sour and fruity kokum.

Makhana or Lotus Seeds: It is rapidly becoming the choice of snack for weight watchers. Check out the nutrient profile of this incredible superfood.

Moringa or Drumstick: Looking to boost your iron and calcium levels? Don’t restrict yourself to just meat and milk. Know more about moringa and how this superfood can be made a part of your diet.

Mushrooms: These fungi are loaded with nutrients. Click here to know why you should be consuming them more often.

Muskmelon: The juicy and aromatic muskmelon has several health-boosting properties. Find out more about this nutritious fruit.

Ragi: This grain has made its way into the plates of many. From ragi dosa and idli to ragi porridge, it is being promoted in the diets of old and young. Find out why health experts are recommending this superfood.

Sabja: Slurped a tall glass of falooda? If it had sabja seeds, you have no reason to feel guilty. Click here to know why!

Sacha Inchi: These nut-like seeds are rich in omega-3. Check out the other health benefits they have in store for you!

Sweet Potato: A rich source of Vitamin A and fiber, sweet potato is a great alternative to the white potato. Take a look at all the reasons why you need to include it in your diet.


Tofu: Often known as the vegan cousin of paneer, tofu is derived from soybean and comes loaded with protein and minerals. Read more about the health benefits of tofu.

Turmeric: Think twice before you say no to “haldi wala doodh”. Find out why your grandma trusts turmeric for every infection.

Zucchini: Did you know that you can use your favourite zucchini not only in pasta and pizza, but also in a cake? Wondering how it’s possible? Click here to know more.

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