Bitter Melon & Potato Stir Fry with Poppy Seeds (Aloo Karela Bhaji)


Remember all the groans & whines we came up with when we were forced to eat Karela/Bitter Melons when we were little? I have heard only of a handful of kids who eat this bitter vegetable without pulling a long sad face. I have found some ways (like this one), where the karela actually tastes not like karela. My kids (& my husband) do not whine when I make this stirfry. They Potatoes & the Karela are crispy, & has a nutty flavor.

Momordica charantia is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown for edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all vegetables….. The fruit is most often eaten green. Although it can also be eaten when it has started to ripen and turn yellowish, it becomes more bitter as it ripens. The fully ripe fruit turns orange and mushy, is too bitter to eat, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp.” (Wiki)

These come in various shapes & sizes & are widely consumed in the Indian Subcontinent & South East Asia. Bitter melons are used in various  traditional medicine systems for a long time. Like most bitter-tasting foods, bitter melon stimulates digestion. It is also known to counteract Diabetes.

Well given all these qualities, I now understand why we were all forced to swallow few bites of this vegetable:-). It has become more of a comfort food for me now. This year I grew some in our backyard. (This is the only thing I could grow, becoz this was the only thing the rabbits would not eat. The cotton tails are definitely cute & our backyard is home to quite a few families…. & they devour about anything I plant).

Sending this to Grow your Own Hosted by Andrea.

 The Bloom on the Fruit…..

 I used 2 Greens & 1 Ripe Yellow.


  1. 3 Karela – Quartered & chopped into small pieces
  2. 4 Medium Sized Potato – Peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  3. 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  4. 2 Red Dry Chillies
  5. 2 tablespoons oil
  6. 1.5 tablespoons Poppy Seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  8. Salt to taste


Heat Oil. Add the Cumin seeds/Jeera & the dry red chilly. When they start to sizzle, add the Karela/Bitter Melon, salt & turmeric.

Stir fry at high heat till they start getting slightly brown. Add the cubed potatoes. Toss for the oil & spice to coat the cubes. Cover & cook at low heat till the potatoes are almost done.

Uncover & stir fry at high heat till the potatoes & bitter melon is cooked through & are brown. Add the poppy seeds and fry for about 5 more minutes.

Its ready to serve…



Serve with Hot white rice, & dal.

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