Hagalakai palya or how to prepare bitter gourd curry

Preparation Time : 15 min Cooking Time : 15 min Serves : 4

Bitter gourd curry or Hagalkai palya is a traditional south Indian recipe served as a side dish for rice or roti’s. It has a unique taste that transforms it into delicious curry if prepared in a right way. This curry is prepared by grinding coconut with onion, tomato, sambar powder, which results to an aromatic and delicious curry. A healthy curry to serve as a side dish for Akki rotti, Ragi rotti, Chapati, Dosa or best when served with rice or Ragi mudde. 






Bitter gourd /hagalakayi – 250 gm [cut into round shape as shown in the picture]

Salt to taste.

Oil to fry

Ingredients to grind –

Grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Onion – 1/2 medium chopped roughly

Tomato – 1 medium

Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch

Sambar powder – 1 tbs

Turmeric powder – 1/4 Tsp

Jaggery to taste grated /crushed

Tamarind – 1 small piece/ 1 tsp of juice

For seasoning:-

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Oil to fry



Cook bitter gourd by adding 1 cup of water and salt to taste in a vessel. Cook covered until it is cooked, it takes 5 to 6 min to be done in a medium flame. Once done drain the water and keep aside. (you can add the same water in preparation or you can drain it… as it gives bitterness to the curry)

For grinding –

Add coconut, onion, coriander (rinsed) in a mixer jar, grind it to a paste once done, add tomato grind it, finally add sambar powder, turmeric powder, tamarind juice and jaggery and ground together for a while and keep ready.


Heat a pan, add 2 tbs of oil in it, when it becomes hot add mustard seeds when it starts to crackle add curry leaves, add cooked and drained bitter gourd fry for a while,


Add grounded masala paste saute for a while


Add little water to adjust to your consistency, bring it to boil add little salt to taste. Cook till the gravy becomes thick. Remove from the flame.


Enjoy as a side dish for rice or Rotis.


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