Fried Karela Chips (Bitter Gourd)

READY IN: 1hr 5mins
Recipe by Sandi From CA

Here's a vegetable that you might not find in your regular grocery store, but Asian and Indian markets usually stock them. They're very bitter unless you use salt to draw as much moisture from them as you can, then they're quite mild. Some people prefer the bitterness. These make a great snack or salad garnish and I've also seen karela in Indian potato curries and even stuffed. I've made them substituting regular white flour for the rice flour and they turned out great. More addictive than I expected. :oops: Time includes the 1-hour moisture-drawing process.

Top Review by Feej3940

See what happens when I go to the farmers market. I always have to buy something I've never had before. Then I get home & don't know what to do with it! First of all, I have to say I made the mistake of adding a piece of this bitter gourd to a stirfry. Yucko! Who knew you have to squeeze out the bad tasting juice! Anyway, I thought I would try this, since it's fried & that has to make anything better. It really did. I kind of liked it. In a wierd sort of way. It's like I had to keep eating & keep eating it & as long as I was eating it, it tasted good. But once I stopped - bam! that bitter hit you. I swear I salted & waited & squeezed! Perhaps I didn't do good enough, since I REALLY didn't know what I was doing. Thank you for the recipe! Without you I would never have learned what to do with this strange thing & I would probably still be on the kitchen floor - puckered into a bitter little ball. This was an adventure & I'm definately glad I did it!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 -4 karela (bitter gourds)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • For the seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons besan flour (chickpea flour or gram flour)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (or more according to taste)


  1. Slice each piece of bitter gourd into fairly thin half-moon shape. Transfer them to a colander and sprinkle the salt over. Shake the colander to distribute the salt evenly. Leave to rest for about an hour or so.
  2. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the bitter gourd pieces and dry them on paper towels. Transfer to a Ziploc bag or a big bowl.
  3. Mix the seasoning ingredients together and sprinkle over the pieces. Shake the bag or bowl so that the seasoning is distributed evenly over the pieces.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok, and fry the bitter gourd pieces in batches to a crisp brown. Drain on paper towels and try not to eat them all like I just did.
  5. Serve as an accompaniment with Indian rice dishes, or eat as a snack.

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