Masala Caraili (Bitter Gourd)

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Masala Caraili does a number on your tastebuds. Believe you me it does, especially if you’re not used to the taste of bitter gourd. First, it attacks you with a spicy, savoury masala   taste that entices you to have a bit more, but after the masala flavour subsides and starts to roll down your tongue it knocks you with a bitterness that just makes you swallow fast so that you won’t have to deal with it…too much.

By then you are sent reeling with confusion. Should I continue eating and enjoying the spiciness?  Or, should I just continue my meal and have a spoon or two of   rice and dhal while I make up my mind on what to do with that fella on the corner of my plate ? :)

Confusing as it may seem, you would be drawn to try a few more spoons of masala caraili before your meal is done. Perhaps, you will mix it with a bit of mango kuchela; just enough to mask the bitterness. But your mouth will be so on fire you may not even notice the bitter after taste. Who knows, in between spoonfuls, you may just wash it all down with some sea moss lol!!

Yeah, that will surely wash out the bitterness a lot. Mind you, this is one dish you wouldn’t, for obvious reasons, want to drink mauby with, that is unless you have become impervious to that low level of bitterness because, you’re like me, and is accustomed to drinking Zebapique tea when you have the cold lol :)

No lie, if you ever drank Zebapique tea then this meal will have no effect on you at all. You will eat it without a grimace and quite possibly you may even like it to the point that you may go back for seconds. So, according to you taste bud’s threshold for bitter, I say be cautious. But, if you want to enjoy this side dish with some buss up shut without much of the bitterness I have a trick I learnt from my mother for getting the bitterness out of Caraili. So read on. Here’s Masala Caraili.

Masala Caraili


3 med. caraili chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 pimento peppers, sliced
14 methi seeds (fenugreek)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. Chief brand duck/ goat curry powder
4 tbsp. Amchar Masala
1 tbsp. Geera powder(cumin)
salt to taste
pepper to taste





 Wash and cut up the caraili.

Chop the garlic, pimento, and onion. Set aside.






Boil the Caraili for 15 minutes then drain.

Note: This is one of the methods used to get some of the bitterness out. My mother freezes her Caraili before cooking it. Somehow the coldness diminishes the bitterness of the Caraili. On with the show :)

 Heat the oil and saute the methi seeds for 1 minute.

Then add the garlic and pimento.




Add the curry powder and geera. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes or until it achieves a brownish colour.

Add the caraili and stir and let coat evenly with the curry mixture.

Then add the onion and remaining garlic.


Add salt, pepper and masala powder. Stir



Let cook for 10 minutes.

Add last pimento pepper. stir.

Note: To prevent burning add a little water.

Let cook for 5 more minutes. then remove from heat. Serve hot.

So I do hope you enjoy the spicy bitterness of Masala Caraili. More to come.

Ah Gone :)


  1. Mark says

    Hi Felix. Great posts. This one looks like a deconstructed ‘kalounji’. Instead of cutting up the caraili, it’s split, deseeded, stuffed with a masala mixture, tied with string then fried. I know the flavour is really intense as I have tried it just once with dhal and rice. Was real pressure to eat a lot of it…

    • says

      You may have a point there Mark. It’s kind of like a kalounji but without the mango kuchela or other filling lol!! By the way posted that already :)

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