Like its name says, bitter melon has a naturally bitter taste. But slicing it, salting it, and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight draws out all the bitter taste and you are left with a warm, spicy, and savory curry. This dish is easy to make on any day of the week and should be served with a side of rice.

Kakarakaya Tomato Kura: Bitter Melon Tomato Curry [Vegan]

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  • 3-4 medium bitter melons, lightly peeled and chopped into thin pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 green chilis, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1.2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste


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

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