Hagalakai Palya / Bitter gourd Curry


Bitter gourd Curry
Hagalakai Palya

Bitter gourd is one of  the popular vegetable in Asian cuisine . The natural taste of this vegetable is bitter so it takes a little bit of getting used to. But once you acquire the taste, it could become one of your favorites. I am picky when I shop for bitter gourds. I try and pick the fleshy and long ones because once they are gutted, long and thick pieces are easy to work with. If you are ever looking for  this wonderful  vegetable, be sure to pick the green ones.  Ripened pieces are not suitable for  cooking.

Bitter gourd makes up for the bitterness with its medicinal benefits. In traditional Indian medicine, it’s used to relieve diabetes, stomach complaints and also cough.

There are lot of dishes that can be made with bitter gourd. For now, I will start with this simple curry. It’s a minimalist version for a curry and you will be surprised how easy it is! In the Indian state of Karnataka, we call this vegetable as “Hagalakai”.

” Palya” is nothing but a dry version of curry! I usually cook this dish with other main dishes like Sambar, Saaru, Avil, Gasi.


bitter gourd curry
Hagalkai/ bitter gourd Palya


Hagalakai Palya / Bitter gourd Curry


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 6-8 medium bitter gourd
  • 1 garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black gram


  1. Wash the bitter gourd , remove the seeds and dice then into small pieces or use the chopper.
  2. Places vessel over medium heat and drizzle the olive oil.
  3. After few seconds, add chopped bitter gourd and fry until it turns crispy and golden.
  4. Add salt.
  5. In a smaller pan fry mustard seeds, black gram, with a tsp of oil.
  6. When it starts to sputter, add chopped garlic and fry until it turns golden.
  7. Mix the bitter gourd fry and garlic seasoning together.

Hagalakai (bitter gourd) palya is ready! Serve hot with rice accompanied with other curries or sambar.

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26 thoughts on “Hagalakai Palya / Bitter gourd Curry

  1. I am still on the fence when it comes to eating the bitter gourd. I like the version we make with plenty of jaggery and onion, so that the bitterness goes out as much as possible. But hey, it is good for health, so bring it on 🙂

  2. I wonder if bitter gourd is anything like bitter melon, which I once had in a Chinese restaurant. It sure was a surprise to my palate! 🙂

  3. Wow, now I’m intrigued. The bitter part about this veggie sounds a little scary but I love to experiment 🙂 I need to look around for it so I can try this.

  4. Oh yum, I love how simple this dish sounds! I haven’t done much cooking with gourds, but I may have to start experimenting 🙂

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