Bitter guard pickle

All Indian food goes better with an astringent chutney or pickle on the side. This is a quick and easy recipe for a pickle that can be as hot or as mild as you like.

We used one teaspoon of the chilli powder but the recipe from chef Jerry Matthew at Spice Village called for six! Some like it hot indeed. Chef Matthew put the spice in Spice Village.

Bitter Gourd Pickle Recipe

12 servings as an accompaniment


1½ Tablespoons sesame oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons green chilli paste
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
2 cups (about 6) bitter gourds, peeled, quartered, seeded and finely sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-6 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon fenugreek powder
Pinch asafoetida (optional)
½ cup vinegar (white, apple or rice vinegar all work well)
1 teaspoon jaggery powder or cane sugar – or to taste
1 teaspoon salt – or to taste


  1. Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan on medium-high heat, add the mustard seeds and when they pop and splutter, add the garlic followed by the ginger and green chilli pastes along with the curry leaves.
  2. Stir in the bitter gourd, lower the heat to medium and cook until it is soft when pricked with fork tines (about 10 – 15 minutes).
  3. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, fenugreek and asafoetida (if using) and mix well before adding the vinegar. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Season with the sugar and salt and adjust to taste.
  5. Cool the mixture, place in a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Enjoy as an accompaniment to curries, rice and meat dishes.

Thanks for trying this recipe.

We'd love to hear from you.