Bitter Gourd


Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is widely used in East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cuisine, but you rarely see it in Western cuisine. Perhaps that’s because it’s not as readily available or because it does need some extra prep by marinating with salt to break down the bitterness, but I was at an Asian grocery store the other day and able to get my hands on some fresh bitter gourd. I called my mom and asked her how to prep and cook them, and now that I know how delicious and satisfying they are I’ll be visiting that Asian grocery store more often!  

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Servings: 6


  • 6 bitter gourds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mango powder


  1. Wash, peel, and slice bitter gourd into discs.  

  2. Add salt and let sliced gourd marinate for 2 hours.

  3. Rinse very well under running water to get rid of excess salt and acidity/ bitterness. 

  4. Spread to dry on a kitchen towel while you make onion and masala mix.

  5. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, and let sizzle. 

  6. When sizzling, add onion and saute until it turns golden brown.

  7. Add salt, turmeric powder, and coriander powder, then saute for 1 minute.

  8. Add garbanzo bean flour and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame. 

  9. Add marinated bitter gourds and cook for another 10 minutes on low flame.

  10. Add dry mango powder just before switching off the flame. 

  11. Serve with dal and rice or naan.