Besan karela subzi recipe – How to make karela besan subzi recipe – side dish for rotis

Bittergourd  or karela has a lot of health benefits which can be derived by including it in your diet. Its most well-known benefits are the ability to help manage diabetes,  improve respiratory health, and improves skin health. It is said to strengthen the immune system and prevent and reduce symptoms of cancer too.

Karela or bittergourd vegetable is not liked by many as it is very bitter in taste.   You can add sugar or jaggery to balance the bitterness and a give a sweet taste to the dish. But it is very healthy, as it has lot of health benefits, especially for people having diabetics, as it helps to regulate blood sugar.  To remove bitterness, if you  rub salt and lemon juice to the bittergourd and let it remain for half an hour, it helps to take away the bitterness.  Spices then added to it while cooking makes it all the more delicious.

Karela besan subzi is a very simple,  healthy and delicious dish made with bittergourds, gram flour, jaggery and spices.  Gram flour adds taste to the vegetable and jaggery gives a sweet flavour.   This subzi can be served as a side dish for rotis or phulkas.

Prep Time : 15 mins

Cook Time : 20  mins

Servings : 4 persons

North Indian cuisine


Karela (bittergourd) – 6 nos

Besan or gram flour – 4 tablespoons

Onion – 1 (chopped finely)

Tomatoes – 2 (chopped finely)

Ginger-garlic paste – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 4 tablespoons

Mustard seeds (rai) – 1/2 teaspoon

A pinch of asafoetida or hing

Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1/2 teaspoon

Green chillies – 2 to 3 (chopped finely)

Jaggery powder – 2 tablespoons

Curry leaves – 10

Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons

Salt to taste


Wash the bittergourds thoroughly with water.  Chop both the ends of the bittergourd and peel the skin lightly with the help of a scraper.

Remove and discard the hard seeds and chop the vegetable into thin slices.


Add little salt to karela pieces and mix them well.  Keep it aside for 1/2 an hour.

After 1/2 an hour, the bittergourd will ooze out water and become soft.  Take a portion of karela and squeeze it with your palm to remove the excess water.  Pressure cook the  bittergourd slices for 2 whistles in a pressure cooker.  This step helps the cooking process faster.  Heat a kadai or pan on a medium flame.  Once hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing and allow the seeds to splutter.

Then add chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves and green chillies.   Cook till the onions become soft.

Add chopped tomatoes and salt.  Mix well.  Cook well till the tomatoes become soft.  Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala.  Mix again.

Cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes, till all the masalas are well blended.  Then add the cooked karela slices, jaggery powder and besan.

Mix well and cover the pan with its lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes on a low flame.  (Sprinkle little water and keep stirring in between as besan tends to stick to the bottom).

Once the subzi is cooked, switch off the flame.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Healthy and tasty besan karela is ready to be served.  Serve with phulkas, rotis or parathas.


Rub the bittergourd slices with salt to avoid bitterness.

Ensure to remove the seeds from the bittergourd slices to reduce the bitterness.

Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less jaggery.  You can also add sugar instead of jaggery.

Squeeze the water thoroughly from the bittergourd slices before making the subzi.

You can also add the karela slices directly to onion-tomato mixture and cook along with it, instead of pressure cooking them.



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