Kakarakaya Vepudu Recipe | Bitter gourd Fry Recipe • Chakris Kitchen

How to make Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu

Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu is a distinctive dish from South Indian cuisine that delicately balances the naturally bitter taste of kakarakaya, or bitter gourd, with the sweetness of bellam, which is jaggery. This dish is typically prepared by stir-frying thinly sliced pieces of bitter gourd until they are perfectly cooked with slight caramelization on the edges. The addition of jaggery towards the end of cooking lends a sweet undertone, which counteracts the bitterness and enhances the overall flavor profile of the dish.

To further complement the unique combination of bitter and sweet, other ingredients such as tamarind, green chilies, and a carefully selected blend of spices are added to create an appealing harmony of flavors. These might include turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and mustard seeds, along with curry leaves for a touch of herbal freshness.

Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu Recipe

Kakarakaya Vepudu Recipe | Bitter gourd Fry Recipe • Chakris Kitchen

Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu

If you are wondering how to incorporate bitter gourd into your everyday cooking, this Andhra/Telangana–style bitter gourd jaggery is the perfect answer. Kakarakaya means “bitter gourd” and bellam means “jaggery.” The jaggery and spice balance the bitterness of the bitter gourd and make this curry delectable. Serve it with rice.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Vegetable
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people
Calories 874 kcal


  • 1 large microwave-safe bowl
  • 1 large skillet


  • 3 cups chopped 1-inch pieces bitter gourd
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons powdered jaggery


  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the bitter gourd and water. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bitter gourd is soft and tender. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or kadai over medium heat, heat the oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook until the mustard seeds begin to sputter, about 1 minute.
  • Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Stir in the chile powder, coriander, turmeric, and salt.
  • Add the bitter gourd and mix thoroughly. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the moisture is evaporated.
  • Stir in the jaggery. It will create more liquid. Cook until it is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes, and turn off the heat.


To cook the bitter gourd on the stovetop, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling
boil over high heat and add the bitter gourd. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes; turn off the heat, and drain.
Keyword bitter gourd, corn oil

Cooking Tips about Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu

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  • Select Fresh Bitter Gourd: Choose fresh, firm kakarakaya (bitter gourd) for the best taste and texture. Fresh gourds should have a bright green color and feel solid to the touch.
  • Reduce Bitterness: To soften the natural bitterness, slice the kakarakaya and rub them with salt, then set aside for about 10-20 minutes. Rinse under water before cooking to remove some of the bitter juices.
  • Use Jaggery as per Taste: The amount of bellam (jaggery) can be adjusted according to how sweet or balanced you want the dish to be against the bitterness of the kakarakaya.
  • Make a Balanced Masala: Prepare a spice blend using red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and other spices like coriander powder. This will complement both the bitterness and sweetness in the dish.
  • Fry with Patience: Cook the sliced kakarakaya over medium heat with enough oil to ensure even caramelization and to avoid raw bitterness.
  • Add Tamarind Properly: A bit of tamarind paste can add tanginess and help balance the flavors better. Ensure it’s well mixed and that any lumps are broken down.
  • Cook Jaggery to the Perfect Consistency: Melt the bellam (jaggery) and cook until it thickens slightly to ensure the dish gets a nice glaze but doesn’t turn overly sticky.
  • Finish with a Tempering: A final tempering with mustard seeds, cumin, dried chilies, and curry leaves gives an aromatic lift to the dish and is a crucial flavor enhancer.
  • Garnish Wisely: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves to add a pop of color and freshness to the rich flavors of the dish.
  • Taste as You Go: Continually taste the dish as you cook and adjust the seasoning, particularly the sweetness and sour components, to create a harmonious balance of flavors.

Serving suggestions about Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu

కాకరకాయ బెల్లం వేపుడు ఇలా చేయండి రైస్ పప్పు సాంబారులో చాలా రుచిగా ఉంటుంది  || Sweet Bitter Gourd fry - YouTube

  • Serve with Flatbreads: Pair Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu with Indian flatbreads such as chapati, roti, or paratha, providing a mild base to balance the robust flavors of the dish.
  • With Steamed Rice: Provide a comforting meal by combining this dish with plain steamed rice, which acts as a perfect canvas for the flavorful bitter gourd stir-fry.
  • Enjoy as a Side Dish: Use Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu as an accompaniment to a more substantial South Indian meal like sambar-rice, rasam-rice, or with a variety of Indian curries and dal (lentil soup).
  • Include in a Thali: Add this dish as part of a South Indian thali, offering a small portion alongside other regional dishes for a complete and diverse taste experience.
  • Accompany with Yogurt or Raitha: Serve a bowl of cooling yogurt or cucumber raitha on the side to help soothe the palate from the distinct bitterness of the dish.
  • Pair with a Tangy Achaar: Offer some tangy Indian pickles (achaar), such as mango or lime, to add a zesty dimension that contrasts well with the sweetness of the bellam (jaggery).
  • Sprinkle Fresh Herbs: Garnish Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu with chopped coriander leaves or curry leaves just before serving to add a burst of fresh herbal aroma.
  • Offer Pappadums: Crisp pappadums can be served alongside this dish to add a contrasting texture and a satisfying crunch to the meal.
  • With Tamarind Chutney: Consider tamarind chutney as a condiment, since its sweet and sour taste can further enhance the complex flavor profile of the stir-fry.
  • Utilize Leftovers in a Wrap or Roll: If you have leftovers, you can create a wrap by stuffing the Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu into a tortilla or paratha along with some fresh vegetables and additional sauce, making it a portable and convenient meal option.

Top 5 FAQs about Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu

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  • How can I reduce the bitterness of Kakarakaya (bitter gourd) in the dish? To reduce the bitterness, you can slice the bitter gourd thinly and rub it with salt, letting it sit for about 10-20 minutes. Then, rinse the slices under water to remove some of the bitter juices before you start cooking.
  • What is the significance of Jaggery (Bellam) in this dish? Jaggery adds a sweet contrast to the natural bitterness of the Kakarakaya. It helps to balance the flavors and provides a depth of sweetness that complements the savory and spicy elements of the dish.
  • Can Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu be made in advance? This dish is best served fresh from the stove as the textures and flavors are most vibrant then. However, if needed, you can cook it in advance and reheat it gently before serving. Keep in mind that the texture may not be as crisp upon reheating.
  • Are there any variations to the traditional recipe for Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu? Yes, some might add other ingredients like grated coconut or roasted peanuts to provide additional flavor and texture. Others might include tamarind to balance the sweet and bitter flavors further.
  • Is Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu suitable for people with diabetes, given the inclusion of jaggery? While jaggery is a form of sugar and should be consumed in moderation by diabetics, the bitter gourd itself is known for its potential benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Diabetics should consume this dish cautiously and be mindful of portion sizes, or consult with a healthcare provider about dietary guidelines.

Kakarakaya Bellam Vepudu is a South Indian dish that beautifully blends the contrasting flavors of bitter gourd and sweet jaggery to create a unique and satisfying taste experience. The preparation of this dish requires attention to detail, from selecting fresh ingredients to carefully managing the cooking process to achieve the right balance between bitterness, sweetness, and the aromatics of the spices.


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