Hagalkaayi (Bittergourd) Palya

What is your first thought when your hear/see Bitter gourd/Karela/hagalkaayi? I am sure  ‘Bitter’ is the word that comes to your mind. Most people hate the sight, smell and taste of bittergourd.


Let’s look at the health benefits of this unpopular vegetable – helps keep diabetes level under control, boost the immune system, acts as an excellent antioxidant, helps cure chronic cough and breathing problems, and much more!

In spite of knowing all the benefits this bitter vegetable has to offer us, a majority of us have an aversion towards it! However, here is a recipe which might change your mind. If you don’t mind a sweet twist to bittergourd, you surely will like this udupi style recipe 🙂

Here is my mom’s famous recipe of the bitter gourd palya / hagalkaayi palya – with the hint of spices, spoon of tanginess and sweetness of jaggery, you will have a hard time believing that you are savoring bitter gourd 🙂

Do give a try, and I assure you, this will be one of your favorite 🙂



Bitter gourd – 2

Jaggery – lemon sized ball

Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp

Rasam Powder – 2 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp


For tempering:

Oil – 3 to 4 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Urad Dal – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – few

Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp


Cut the bitter gourd and remove the seeds. Chop them finely into small pieces.

In a small bowl, add the tamarind paste, rasam powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, and salt. Mix well into a fine paste.

In a wide/deep bottomed pan, heat oil.

Add the mustard seeds, urad dal and sauté till you hear the crackling sound. Then add the curry leaves and asafoetida.

Now add the chopped bitter gourd. Sauté for a few mins.


Add the tamarind and rasam powder mixture and the jaggery. Mix well and allow to cook on a medium flame for about 15-20 minutes on a medium flame.


Once done, turn off the heat and serve hot with some hot rice or hot rotis.










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