Masala Vegan

Plant based recipes inspired by spices and green living!

Main Meal Stir Fry Vegan Recipes

Bitter Gourd Stir Fry in a Tomato Onion Gravy

Karele Ki Sabji

Bitter Gourd, also called Bitter Melon or “Karela” in Hindi, used to be one of my favorite veggies growing up. From stuffed baked bitter gourd to pan-fried fritters, made by dipping bitter gourd into a rice flour batter with spices. Bitter Gourd usually grows on a vine during the colder months in India. However, I’ve to resort to getting frozen slices from the local Indian shop here. This quick preparation uses the Airfryer to cook the bitter gourd slices for 15 to 20 minutes while the tomato and onions cook in a teaspoonful of oil with a few spices. Perfect for busy week-nights with a bowl of Daal and steamed rice or Roti!

Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

(A quick and flavoursome Bitter Gourd Stirfry combining smoked paprika, cumin seeds and turmeric.)


Bitter Gourd, sliced – 2 cups (I used a half a kilo packet of frozen sliced bitter gourd)
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Onion, sliced thinly – 1 medium
Tomatoes, deseeded & diced – 1 cup
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Smoked Paprika Powder – 1 teaspoon
Water – 2 tablespoons
Salt, to taste


Spread the frozen bitter gourd slices in the air fryer and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 18 – 20 minutes (until slightly crisp).
In the meanwhile coat a deep pan with oil and add the cumin seeds. Cook until browned.
Stir in the onions and cook on a medium flame until lightly browned.
Mix in the turmeric Powder and the tomato. Cook on low heat until softened.
Stir the Airfried bitter gourd slices into the pan and coat well with the above mixture.
Add water and salt and mix well.
Sprinkle smoked red Paprika powder and take off the heat.


Use mild red Chilli powder in place of smoked paprika. I’ve used smoked paprika to add a smoky depth to the flavour.
If using fresh bitter gourd, then slice into 3/4″ rounds, toss in a spoonful of rice flour and then cook in the Airfryer.



I am an enthusiastic plant based home cook and baker who delights in sharing my creations on unsuspecting non vegans, when they least expect it! When not recipe developing, testing or making, I'm found organising and/ or writing, the two other passions of my life ❤️