Jun 13, 2016

Kakarakaya Kaaram ~ Spicy Karela ~ Andhra Recipes

This Kakarakaya Kaaram ( Spicy Karela) holds special place in my heart as this recipe comes from my Grandmother's Kitchen. When Grandma makes it there is some special flavor as she cooks with lots of patience and loads of love. My aunts inherit the recipe from Grand Ma, when aunt was here in states, I asked her to make this dish and jot down the recipe from her, for my future reference! Here is the recipe for you, Njoy!

For Boiling:
Karela ~ Kakarakaya - 1 kg
Butter milk - 1 cup
Tamarind - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp

For Kaaram Grinding:
Red Chili Powder - 4 Tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 10 cloves
Salt - 1 tsp

For Frying:
Oil -  4 Tbsp
Curry Leaves - 10 (optional)
Onion - 2 medium ( or chopped 1 cup)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 2 Tbsp

Preparatory Steps:
  • Wash Karela under lukewarm water. Mix butter milk, tamarind, turmeric powder and salt in a non-stick pot. Add Karela ( without trimming the edges) to the buttermilk mixture in the pot. Boil Karela in buttermilk mixture for 15 to 20 min until Karela becomes soft or buttermilk evaporates completely.
  • Switch off the stove and take the karela in a plate and set them aside to cool. Once they are cooled off, trim the edges and chop them into medium pieces.
  • Grind all the ingredients under Kaaram Grinding section in a small mixie jar into fine powder. 
  1. Heat 4 Tbsp of oil in nonstick pan. Once the oil is hot add curry leaves and chopped karela, fry them for 5 min. Take the Karela pieces out of the pan. 
  2. Add chopped onion to the same non-stick pan. Fry onions for 4 min. Add salt and turmeric to onions and fry them for another 6 min. Onions should be fully sauteed and soft. 
  3. Add ground kaaram to the onion mixture and mix well. Add karela pieces to the pan and coat with kaaram and onion mixture. 
  4. Finally add jaggery to the karela pieces in the pan, in 5 min Jaggery should be melted and mixed with Karela pieces. Switch off the stove and keep the pan on there for 5 min. 
  5. After 5 min transfer the Karela Kaaram to air tight container. Serve with hot white rice and some Ghee, tastes absolutely delicious. 

This stores good for upto 15 days at room temperature or 30 days in the refrigerator.

  • For good color and spiciness, use Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder. Chilli powder quantity matters based on your spice level. If you eat more spice, then you can add more red chili powder in this recipe.
  • Always get fresh and tender Karela for this recipe. Avoid too much riped ones and make sure the seeds are not that hard.
  • Do not trim the edges of Karela while boiling in butter milk. If you trim, the buttermilk goes inside karela and makes it mushy than keeping it firm. 

Will be back with another traditional recipe from my Grand Mother's heritage!
take care until then


  1. I try this recipe. It does not look great as yours but really delicious.

    1. Thanks for letting me know! For looks lot of other things has role play, ex, Red Chili powder has to be dark red color and of course my DSLR adds some more! So don't worry about the looks as long as it is delicious! Glad you liked the flavor! :-)

  2. Oh I like spicy dishes a lot! This recipe is perfect to start my lunch. Thanks!



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