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I was never a picky eater, but when I started thinking about how I felt about bitter gourd when I was young, I don’t have a distinct memory of either liking it or disliking it. May be my mom wasn’t feeding it to her kids, because she knew we wouldn’t like it or maybe she masked the bitterness and made us eat it, I have no memory whatsoever.

But one distinct memory I have was eating stuffed karela at our dear neighbors place; karelas were stuffed and tightly closed with kitchen twine and then sautéed until golden brown (may be in a batter—don’t remember that), but I remember them just melting in my mouth with no bitterness at all. I guess that was when I started really noticing and liking this bitter veggie.

I don’t mind slight bitterness anymore, but personally I try to take out as much of that bitter taste as I can by pre-cooking the gourd with yogurt or tamarind and then using the veggie as needed. For today’s Bengali dish for BM#5, I picked this delicious bitter gourd dish from Sandeepa’s Bong cookbook. I have to say this is one of the best karela dishes I have ever made. It’s a dry curry and the poppy seeds coat the bitter gourd and give them an almost creamy taste when eating. A must try for all Karela fans.

Did I mention the original recipe only has 5 ingredients, but with my pre-cooking the ingredient list grew to a whopping 6 ingredients that includes salt too.

Sandeepa’s Original recipe here.

Print Recipe
Bengali Bittergourd Curry with Poppy seeds (Uchche Posto Jhuri) Yum
Bengali Bittergourd Curry with Poppy seeds (Uchche Posto Jhuri)
Course side dish
Cuisine bengali
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 4 Bitter gourd / Karela/ Kakarakaya – medium, diced
  • 3 tbsps Poppy seeds
  • 3 chilies Dry Red
  • 2 tbsps Yogurt
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
Course side dish
Cuisine bengali
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 4 Bitter gourd / Karela/ Kakarakaya – medium, diced
  • 3 tbsps Poppy seeds
  • 3 chilies Dry Red
  • 2 tbsps Yogurt
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
Bengali Bittergourd Curry with Poppy seeds (Uchche Posto Jhuri)
Instructions
  1. Grind poppy seeds in a spice grinder or small food processor either dry or with very little water.
  2. Mix yogurt with chopped karela, ½ tsp salt and ¼ cup of water in a microwave safe container; loosely cover and microwave for 5-6 minutes or until the veggie is almost tender, but not completely cooked. Drain and rinse. Squeeze the water completely from the veggie and keep aside.
  3. Heat 2tbsp oil in a sauté pan, add mustard seeds and once they start to platter, add the cooked karela and sauté on medium-low flame until completely cooked through and slightly browned around the edges.
  4. Add the poppy seed powder or paste; mix well so that the veggies are completely coated with the powder.
  5. Season with salt and cook for 5 more minutes until the flavors meld. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Let's check out what my fellow marathoners have been cooking up today:

Curry in a hurry under 30 min: Priya Suresh, Srivalli, Usha

Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special:Vardhini,

Seven Days of Indian Sweets: Harini, Suma, Veena

Seven Days of Regional Specials: Aarthi, Kalyani, Pavani, Shylaja

Summer Coolers: PJ, Vaishali

Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast:Sushma Pinjala

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20 thoughts on “Bengali Bittergourd Curry with Poppy seeds (Uchche Posto Jhuri)”

  1. Classic and delicious recipe.. looks so tempting dear.. thanks for the awesome recipe :)Indian Cuisine

  2. Pavani, This is regarding your question on Kancheepurm idli.Boiled rice is nothing but parboiled rice/idli rice.You can also make this with idli rava just as we make normal idlis South Indian Home

  3. Karelas are one of my fav. n any recipes for it are always welcome n this one is really simple ..looks good!!

  4. As Harini said, I too am not a karela lover though my husband is. I will give it a try since you are somehow convincing me that it is not bitter even though it is not fried or cooked in loads of jaggery -tamarind sauce. 🙂

  5. We are a huge fan of bittergourd.I prepared this and packed it for hubby’s lunch yesterday. He loved it and asked me to prepare it once again this week.Thanks for sharing this delicious curry..

  6. As much as I hate Karela, we don’t squeeze out the veggies to take out the bitterness. Guess if my Mom did that, I would have had more Karela. But Bengalis usually love to retain the bitterness in the bitter gourd.But this version will be loved by my daughter. I loved your addition of yogurt

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