Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Bitter Gourd Chips (Karela Fries)

Bitter gourd - Indian variety (Karela, Kakara kaya)

A perfect side snack, karela chips are crunchy, slightly bitter and spicy. A very different taste compared to potato chips but equally irresistible as an accompaniment to the regular meal of rice and dal.

I usually make them, slowly sauteing in a big pan for half an hour like that, until they turn crispy. Back in Nandyala, deep-frying the thinly sliced rounds of karela is the norm. Thanks to Kay and her recipe, I found a very easy way to make the karela chips without compromising the taste. Baking and broiling. Method is easy and the taste is superb.

karela slices going into the oven


I followed kay’s recipe.
Washed 3 bitter gourds (Karela - Indian variety). Using a mandoline, sliced thin rounds. That’s easy. chuk..chuk.chuk.. Plateful of karela rounds. Tossed them in two teaspoons of peanut oil and sprinkled red chilli-garlic powder, salt, turmeric to my taste (1/2 tsp each). More tossing. Kept them for 15 minutes like that so that karela rounds can absorb the seasonings.
Arranged them neatly in rows, on a foil covered baking tray. Then baked them in a pre heated oven at 375° F for about 10 minutes, another 5 minutes under broil setting to make them extra crispy. I had to watch them closely during the broiling. They turn from crispy to black very fast, I didn’t want that. Total 15 minutes in the oven - the result was crunchy karela chips.

Thanks Kay for this wonderful recipe. Fabulous results without much sweat - Vijay and I both liked them very much.

karela (Bitter Gourd) Chips
Bitter gourd (Karela) Chips.

Karela (Kakara Kaya, Bitter Gourd) Chips with Rice and Sambhar

Karela chips with okra sambhar & rice

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kakara Kaya(Bitter Gourd) (Tuesday January 3, 2006 at 12:50 pm- permalink)

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35 comments for Bitter Gourd Chips (Karela Fries) »

  1. Ooooh! Indira, I’m so glad you liked it! :)

    Yep, you got to watch over like a hawk when the broil mode is ON.

    Comment by Kay — January 3, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

  2. Hi Indira!

    Karela is my favourite veggie and I must say that I’ve never had it this way. I have some in my fridge, was going to make it for lunch tommorrow. Now I know what recipe to use!!


    Comment by Meena — January 3, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

  3. Kay… recipe is a keeper, thanks for sharing it with us. I also stored them in a small tin for later use. They are wonderful. Thank you!

    Meena.. Try it, I know you are going to like them for sure.:)

    Comment by Indira — January 3, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

  4. Wow, impressive! Does it have the same taste as the fried ones though?

    Your photographs are really excellent too.

    Comment by yum — January 3, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  5. With this process, how bitter IS the bitter gourd? I know that bitter gourd can be quite intense for those not used to it. How crispy do the chips get in the oven?

    ALSO: does baking or frying alter the chemical make up of the Karela? I know it’s a fabulous vegetable for assisting with diabetes, sugar and insulin control.

    How much Karela is “too much” to consume for therapeutic value?

    Comment by NuggetMaven — January 3, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  6. Thanks a lot for such a wonderful recipe.Iam sure i will like it as we are using less oil and hence i consider it would be healthy too.I am a new comer to ur website and i am very much impressed by your recipes.Going to try one by one.One request…Can u please share with us some recipes like this one which uses less oil and can be baked in oven.Thanks in advance

    Comment by kals — January 3, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

  7. Hi Indira- they look delicious. I will have to try them soon since karela is quite fresh here. This is a new way for me to prepare it.

    Comment by mika — January 3, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

  8. Yum… if you ask me, I never made deep fried karela before. Being out of home for a long time, I totally forgot how the deep fried karela tastes.
    But the baked-broiled ones taste almost like slow saute ones, I usually make. I liked the result of this new method. Please try it and you can find the taste difference for yourself, without any doubts.:)

    NM.. for a blog named ‘turdmania’, you ask lot of questions.:)
    Because I sliced them thin, they are mildly bitter and they turned very crisp in the oven. You can break them into two, that crisp.
    About chemical makeup, I don’t know but they tasted exactly like the slow roasted ones that I normally do on the stovetop.
    Yes, they are very good for health.
    Bitterness prevents it eating toomuch. I don’t know anyone who can eat more than a handful or 2 max at one time.
    Hope I cleared some of your doubts.

    Kals.. thanks! Do let me know how it turns out. Most of my recipes are very health conscious, please check them out and I’ll post many more like that as I continue to blog.

    Mika.. I’m sure you are going to find many fresh veggies out there with year round Sunshine. You are a lucky girl.
    This recipe is quite good, please try it and let me know how it turned out.

    Comment by Indira — January 3, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Thanks Indira, you really open a door of a world completly unknown to me…
    Best wishes for this year, and I hope to read you often. :)

    Indira says..
    I also learned lot of things visiting your blog Marcela. Food blogging has been a great experience so far.
    Good job with the roundup of new year recipe swap. Thanks for hosting the event.

    Comment by Marcela — January 3, 2006 @ 10:18 pm

  10. Now that is another of my favorites.
    been thinking of posting it but i forgot to take snaps when i cooked..
    Its nice to fry potatoes along with that.
    thats how I like it.. and I am a potato lover.

    Indira says…
    You do have lot of recipes with potatoes on your blog.:)
    Please post your way of cooking the karela. The more the recipes, the merrier or more things to share and learn from each other. Don’t you agree?

    Comment by tony — January 4, 2006 @ 3:24 am

  11. Indira: Sapteengala? (With my luck, you probably don’t read Tamil :)

    Thanks for your response! I hope you enjoyed your visit to Turdmania (It actually IS a recipe blog; albeit a sassy one:).

    Would you happen to have any links re: aryuvedia and karela?

    I have insulin resistance problems, the result of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome ( for more info on this syndrome), and I have read that Karela is therapeutic, but I am interested in knowing about “dosage,” what exactly it does to the pancreas, as well as any drug interaction/s.

    Any assistance you can render would be greatly appreciated! As you can imagine, western physicians know very little about the therapeutic values of Karela.

    Indira says…
    Hey I’ve Tamil friends, you know. I can find out what you are saying to me. :)
    I got the sassy part about your blog. Great philosophy that is, title says it all, good one.:) Can content match the title? :)
    I’m so sorry to hear about your problem. I heard really good things about the health benifits of karela particularly on DM patients. Some of our, very health conscious relatives , drink raw karela juice (half glass) in the morning and they don’t even have DM. As children, we thought they were crazy to drink that stuff, now I know why they aged healthy without any problems.
    I tried google, found some good links about bitter gourd health benifits. Check out these links and see you can find any information you are looking for.
    I hope this helps.
    Best wishes

    Comment by NuggetMaven — January 4, 2006 @ 10:52 am

  12. Hi! I don’t normally like Karela, but I like it when my mom makes ‘em. She makes them crispy like you do, but she does it in the microwave. Same seasonings, a little bit of oil, pop it into the microwave and it comes out crispy and yummy. :)

    Indira says…
    Hello Vee, microwave? really? Mom’s recipe is always good,I should give it a try, then.:) Thanks for the tip.

    Comment by Vee — January 4, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  13. Without any doubt, this is a beautiful vegetable. I love it´s shape. Unfortunatelly I have never tried it yet :(

    Indira says…
    Give it a try, Melissa. I know you are going to like it. Is this vegetable avialable in Panama?

    Comment by melissa_cookingdiva — January 4, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

  14. You’re not supposed to peel them?

    Indira says…
    I did scrape them very lightly, but not as much as I normally do if I make a curry with it. How much you want to remove the outer layer depends on your tolerance to bitterness. Outer layers are very bitter.

    Comment by Joe Grossberg — January 4, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

  15. Hey, you left the seeds in! That’s the MOST bitter part if you ask me. :) When I cook karela, I usually remove the soft inner part which has the seeds, especially if the seeds are big and the karela isnt tender.

    Comment by Shammi — January 5, 2006 @ 8:05 am

  16. Hi!

    Mahanandi, your website is awesome!

    My mother used to salt the slices and wash and squeeze out the water (or at least *I* would) before deep frying, but we found out later that it wasn’t necessary to remove the bitterness. Great recipe!

    You could also try…making a salad with karela chips with deep friend eggplant, mustard (english), raw onion, chilli, pepper and lemon juice.

    Shammi: no way! the seeds are the tastiest bit, a bit like pumpkin seeds - deliciously sweet, crunchy and nutty!

    Comment by flygirl — January 6, 2006 @ 12:00 am

  17. Oh my. Bitter Gourd. This is the one Indian food that I find hard to eat. I cooked a Bitter Gourd sambar almost 3 years ago, and that was the first and last time I ate it. Does dry heat mute the bitter flavor?

    Comment by Verdant — January 6, 2006 @ 10:06 am

  18. ohhh i love this dish. It is probably the deciding factor of which *banana leaf rice* restaurant I chose to go to everytime I am in Malaysia. However it is almost impossible to get bitter gourd in holland so I haven’t had it for quite a while… I am drooling here!

    Comment by Lisa — January 6, 2006 @ 10:14 am

  19. Shammy.. I agree with flygirl, seeds are the tasty part. I remove them only if they are overripe and red. White ones are good.

    Flygirl… thanks!
    I like the idea of karela salad. I’ll definitely try that one. Very neat. Thanks for sharing.

    Verdant.. aah…bitter gourd is not for sambhar, we never make sambhar with bitter gourd in our households, because, you know the reason already. Where did you get the recipe?
    Saute definitely makes it less bitter. Try it like this, you will be surprised and may like this veggie.

    Lisa.. “banana leaf rice’ sounds interesting. They must serve Indian food, right.
    I know the feeling, you don’t know how much I miss Indian veggies. All these veggies, we brought them from Toronto during our recent trip, because they are not avialble here in our town.

    Comment by Indira — January 6, 2006 @ 11:51 am

  20. I tried this over the week-end Indira. It came out nice and crispy. I used Indian Sesameseed oil (nalleNNai). Everybody loved it.

    Also roasted potatoes in a nallennai + roasted and powdered cumin seed + crushed garlic. Even the kids loved it. :)

    Thanks for the roasted paavakkai recipe and also for inspiring the potato recipe.


    Comment by Mathy Kandasamy — January 9, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  21. Potatoes too, yum :)
    I’m glad that they came out nice and crispy, Mathy. This recipe is a keeper, don’t you agree.
    Tossing in sesame oil, sounds good.
    Next time I’ll remember to add few drops sesame oil while tossing the cut karela. I like the smell and taste of sesame oil.

    Comment by Indira — January 10, 2006 @ 8:37 am

  22. That’s a neat trick. I usually avoid karela because of the time it takes to fry them.
    Indira, what brand is your mandoline? Do you have any suggestions on which mandoline to buy? I’m planning on hitting the mall this weekend to look for it.

    Indira replies…
    Hi Vani, I bought mine from HSN(home Shopping network), you can see the photo of my mandoline - here. I paid about 15 dollars for it 5 years ago. I think it’s much cheaper now. Very convenient to use and clean. Brand name, I don’t remember it. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Vani — February 15, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

  23. I make chickpeas like this. I have had bitter gourd once and I didn’t care for it at all, but maybe it’s better in salty chip form…

    Indira replies:
    They taste very good cooked in this way, give it a try Amy. They are perfect side snack for dal or sambhar, rice combination.

    Comment by Amy — May 28, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

  24. […] Karela chips by way of Indira and Kay, with slightly modified seasoning. […]

    Pingback by Out Of The Garden » Sunday Snacking — July 23, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

  25. Love it! Had some similar chips fried in Kerala and these taste similar.

    Comment by Anonymous — August 8, 2006 @ 8:09 am

  26. Wonderful–I was just wondering what to do with bitter gourd chips!

    Comment by the chocolate lady (eqj) — October 12, 2006 @ 8:23 am

  27. Can samebody tell me ,if this is for to be thin is this true.Thank you.

    Comment by yolanda — October 16, 2006 @ 6:53 am

  28. hi, i have never tried karela this way. sounds very yummy and surely i am going to try.thank yu so much for sharing this recipe.

    Comment by vijayalakshmi — July 16, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  29. These look fantastic! I’ll have to try them next time I get karela.

    For a very different kind of karela chips, try dipping thin slices in jaggery water before frying — the sugar caramelizes, and is exquisite with the bitterness. Need to be doubly careful about their burning, though.

    If you mix these, yogurt, and a little hing and salt, it’s amazing. (I bet that’d be true for the spicy chips, too.)

    Awesome post, thanks again!

    Comment by Natarajan Krishnaswami — September 27, 2007 @ 10:21 am

  30. Hey Indira,

    Good tip! An easy way to fry karelas haan? Thank you so much.

    One QUESTION though…Which mandoline slicer you use/recommend and what would be the price of it approx? Thanks in Advance.

    Comment by kavu — September 30, 2007 @ 7:23 am

  31. Never mind Indira! I got the answer from your previous comments. Guess I was in a great hurry to ask the question without going through others comments :-)

    Comment by kavu — September 30, 2007 @ 7:30 am

  32. Hi indira
    it is great help


    Comment by ramesh — February 11, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  33. […] Re: I need a weight loss partner… Vidya, Me and my Husband are big fans of this bitter gourd.It really depends on what kind of person you are. Lot of people soak bitter gourd in curd and cook and take out water from it to reduce bitterness.But I don’t do that.Because we can really eat it. I use similar way using oven to avoid oil.I can cook 2kg of bitter ground with 11/2 TBS in this method but I use oven. There are lot of ways do it.It just depend on your taste. Mahanandi Bitter Gourd Chips (Karela Fries) 1.I cut them in circles. 2.Put 1/2TBS and toss with salt and chilli powder + lot of garlic 3.Keep in oven baked for 30min 4.Add 1TBS oil and add onions and toss them and add the Bitter gourd to it and toss them for 4-5min and it will done. 5.We will eat mostly with dals. […]

    Pingback by I need a weight loss partner... - Page 16 - IndusLadies — July 19, 2011 @ 11:58 am

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    Comment by Jordan Shoes — January 13, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  35. […] Usually, I shallow fry bittergourd chips, but today I tried them in a healthier way, Indira inspired, and they were perfectly good. […]

    Pingback by Zaiqa » Blog Archive » Bitter, but better — May 16, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

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