Bitter gourd Chana dal curry

Bitter gourd chana dal curry is a dry curry prepared with bitter gourd and split chickpeas. Tamarind, yogurt and a small piece of jaggery is also used to reduce bitterness of bitter gourd. This curry goes well with steamed rice or any Indian bread. Only 2 teaspoons of oil is required to prepare this tasty curry. No coconut, ground nuts or lot of spices are required to prepare this tasty curry. Bitter gourd has got many nutritional benefits. Bitter gourd contains  polypeptide-P , a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 5 servings


  1. Bitter gourd: 250 gms (2 medium sized)
  2. Split chickpeas/chana dal: ½ cup
  3. Yogurt/ curd: ¼ cup
  4. Curry leaves: few leaves
  5. Salt: 1 teaspoon (according to taste)
  6. Jaggery: a small lemon sized
  7. Tamarind: a small lemon size (soaked in water)
  8. Oil: 2 teaspoon
  9. Mustard seeds, cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon for tempering
  10. Garlic: 4 to 5 cloves finely chopped
  11. Onion: 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
  12. Tomato: 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
  13. Green chilli: 3 to 4 finely chopped
  14. Ginger: 1 inch cut into julienne
  15. Turmeric: ¼ teaspoon
  16. Red chilli powder: ½  teaspoon(according to taste)
  17. Coriander powder: ½ teaspoon
  18. Roasted cumin powder: ½ teaspoon
  19. Coriander leaves: few finely choppedIMG_6025


  1. Wash chana dal in water. Add 1 cup of water  and cook in a pressure till 1 whistle comes. Switch off the flame and wait for 5 minutes before opening the lid(do not over cook). You can also cook in a open pan adding a little more water.IMG_6013
  2. Drain chana dal to remove water and keep aside.IMG_6034
  3. In the meantime peel bitter gourd and rub 2 tablespoons of salt and leave aside for 5 to 10 minutes.IMG_6008
  4. Wash bitter gourd in water 2 to 3 times and cut into small pieces and keep aside.IMG_6016
  5. In a pan add ¼ cup yogurt, ½ teaspoon salt  and ¾ cup of water and whisk well.
  6. Add bitter gourd pieces and curry leaves and allow to cook. Bring to a boil.IMG_6027
  7. Cover the pan and allow to cook on  medium flame for 6 to 8 minutes till all the water is evaporated. IMG_6037
  8. Add 1 teaspoon oil, tamarind pulp and a small piece of jaggery and allow to cook for 5 to 7 minutes  till all the water is dried and bitter gourd pieces start leaving the sides of the pan.
  9. In the meantime heat 1 teaspoon of oil and add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Allow mustard seeds to crackle.IMG_6031
  10. Add garlic and fry for a minute.IMG_6044
  11. Add finely chopped onion and ginger julienne and let onion fry till golden brown.IMG_6049
  12. Add finely chopped tomato and cook till oil comes out and tomato start leaving sides of the pan.IMG_6050
  13. Add turmeric, finely chopped green chilli and red chilli powder and mix. Cook for 2 minutes. Switch off the flame.IMG_6052
  14. Add onion and tomato mixture, cooked and drained chana dal and finely chopped coriander leaves to cooked bitter gourd and mix gently.IMG_6057
  15. Add cumin powder, ½ teaspoon salt and coriander powder and mix.IMG_6060
  16. Adjust the seasoning. Allow to cook for a minute on a slow flame. Switch off the flame.
  17. Transfer tasty bitter gourd chana dal curry to a serving bowl.IMG_6072
  18. Serve bitter gourd curry along with steamed rice or roti.


  1. Bitter gourd can also be deep fried in oil and added to cooked chana dal. But deep frying needs lot of oil and also after  frying bitter gourd loses  its color, moisture and texture.
  2. Cooked kabuli chana / chick peas or any lentils of your choice also can be added to bitter gourd for a different taste.

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