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How to make Bittergourd masala/Bittergourd subzi with onions and tomatoes

A simple to make subzi with bittergourd/bittermelon. The following recipe, reduces the bitterness in the gourd and makes it delectable. Even small kids would enjoy bittergourd made this way.
5 from 10 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Bittergourd curry, Bittergourd masala, Bittergourd subzi, How to make bittergourd subzi
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3


  • 2 nos Bittergourds/bittermelons Weighs around 250 grams when pith is removed and chopped
  • 1 no large onion finely chopped
  • 2 no medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sambar powder or use red chili and coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  • 1/4 cup oil any vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds/kadugu
  • 1/8 tsp hing/asafoetida
  • a sprig of curry leaf


  • Wash the bittergourd and cut them horizontally into two  and then again vertically into two, remove the pith inside. slice them into roundels.
  • Once cut, sprinkle salt on them and let it rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. While the bittergourd is resting, let us prep the onions and tomatoes. 
  • Chop onions and tomatoes fine. Once the bittergourd has rested for 20 minutes, strain it and give it a quick wash in running water and let it drain completely.
  • In a wide pan, Add oil, add the bittergourd in batches and shallow fry. i did it 2 batches, do not crowd the pan, you can also deep fry it, but i preferred to shallow fry.
  • Let the bittergourd, sizzle and shrink a bit and get a golden brown on them, once done, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves, when the mustard splutter, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent.
  • Next add the tomatoes now to this add turmeric powder, salt  and sambhar powder and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes, for the tomatoes to cook well and turn mushy.
  • Remove the cover and if the tomatoes are done, add the fried bittergourd to this and mix well. 
  • Let it sit on the stove for another 3-5 minutes for the flavors to mingle. The consistency should be of a semi-gravy. You can also make this complete dry curry, just let it sit on the stove until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Take it off the stove, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve along with rice/roti.