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Kakarakaya Ulli Karam (Bitter Gourd Powder)


Kakarakaya Ulli Karam (Bitter Gourd Powder)

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 2 to 4 people
  • Spice Level: Low

Authenticity Slice

Always remember to remove the hard seeds of the bitter gourd after cutting them. Or else, they will surely add to the existing bitterness of the vegetable.

Trivia Tadka

This bitter gourd-onion recipe is unique to Andhra Pradesh and is believed to have been concocted in the mid-16th century as a natural diabetes prevention medicine. Elders of most Andhra households will wisely tell you that this dish also helps stimulate digestion. This makes Kakarakaya Ulli Karam an important savoury item, and one that is prepared at least once a week in Andhra kitchens.


  • Bitter gourd (karela) (6 to 7)
  • Tamarind (imli), de-seeded (small, lemon-sized)
  • Onion, chopped (2)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) (1 tsp)
  • Coriander seeds (sabut dhania) (1 tsp)
  • Dry red chillies (sabut lal mirch) (4 to 5)
  • Oil (for cooking)
  • MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)


  • Peel the karela and cut them into small pieces. Then, soak the pieces in salt-and-tamarind water for at least 5 to 6 hours.
  • Squeeze out all the excess water from the karela pieces and keep them aside.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and keep frying the karela pieces in it till they have turned light golden brown in colour. Keep aside on a kitchen towel.
  • In another kadhai, lightly dry-roast the jeera, dhania and sabut lal mirch till the combined aroma of the spices has begun to waft out.
  • Grind onions, tamarind, jeera, dhania, MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder and salt into an even paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan and toss the paste in it. Keep cooking till the paste has started to release the oil.
  • Now, add in the karela pieces and mix well.
  • Serve hot.

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