Keema Karela Recipe: Minced Meat Curry With Bitter Gourd

Keema Karela offers deliciously rich minced meat curry with a slightly bitter karela. A curry dish that can be enjoyed with naan bread or roti/ chapati as a dry-curry, or with plain rice as a luscious curry with gravy.

A dish of Keema Karela - the minced meat curry with bitter gourd with blue patterned napkin underneath the dish and a glass of orange juice on the side of the dish

Keema Karela

Keema Karela or minced meat with bitter gourd curry is an option for those who want to enjoy Karela without the tongue-shocking bitterness that comes with this green veggie. 

Though I must admit that you will still taste a little bit of bitterness from this dish, nothing like when you eat karela-only curry on its own. Because, hey, the meat does a good job in balancing the taste of bitter gourd with its juicy sweetness. Plus, the spices and everything else in the ingredients work well together to present you with a mouthwatering curry that offers health benefits.

Keema Karela - Minced Meat With Bitter Gourd Curry

Just a little reminder, karela is a green vegetable from South East Asia that tastes very bitter but it is good for our health. It is also called bitter melon, and in Indonesia, it’s called Paria. 

Though I’m familiar with this vegetable, I wasn’t too keen on it. Because the way the Indonesians cook this super bitter veggie was just too much for me. Now, I’ve learned how to cook it in a Pakistani way by mixing the veggie with minced meat, I’ve converted. 

It’s one of the menu items I cherish whenever I make it.  

Not only is it tasty to have, but it makes me happy to think about the possibility of the karela’s goodness for our health. 

Ways To Enjoy This Bitter Gourd Curry With Mince Meat

Before I go on, let me remind you that this recipe can be cooked as a dry type of curry or curry with gravy. I suggest you make it dry if you want to enjoy this keema karela with flatbread like roti/ chapati, naan bread, or pita bread. But if you want to have it with rice, you may want to cook the curry with a bit of gravy. Your choice.

What You Need

Essentially, you only need five different types of ingredients for this dish, i.e. minced meat, karela/ bitter gourd, tomatoes, spices and oil.

As for the meat, you can use any type of meat. But red meat tastes better for karela. I prefer lamb mince any day. Though I sometimes cook it with beef mince/ ground beef as well. 

The spices we use for the dish are more or less the same as any Pakistani curry using keema/ mincemeat such as Keema Matar or Aloo Keema. You will need onions, ginger, garlic, whole cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, ground black pepper, and red chilli powder. As an optional addition, I also use Kalonji the black seed Nigella Sativa. Because I love the fragrance and the benefits that the black seeds have to offer.

How To Cook Keema Karela

So, first, you get your karela ready. The following steps are optional. If you prefer to keep the bitterness in your karelas, you can just simply deseed and slice them. But if you want to slightly reduce the bitterness, you can try this method that I always do.

photo collage of how to prepare karela the bitter gourd for cooking

Deseed and slice the karelas then sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over. Rub it a little to ensure all the pieces are covered with salt. Leave it to rest for about 10 minutes before you rinse it under running water as you rub the karela pieces. You will feel the outer side of the vegetables get softened a little bit. 

Next, you pan roast the bitter gourd on a large frying pan until it’s wilted and lightly golden. I often cook until it’s slightly turning brown. As the smell is nicer too.

Then, peel and slice the onion. Mince the ginger and garlic.

photo collage of how to cook keema karela the minced meat with bitter gourd curry

On a cooking pan, heat the oil and fry the onion with whole cumin seeds and black seeds until the onions become translucent and fragrant. 

Place the minced meat in the onions and cook until the meat brown.

Then put the minced ginger-garlic, all the spices and salt into the meat. Mix well and fry further for about 2-3 minutes until the spices release aroma. 

Add in the chopped tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes. Let it cook with the lid on at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking every now and again as you mash the tomatoes. 

When the tomatoes have become smooth gravy, put the roasted karelas in and stir well. You can add some water here. Then cook further with the lid on for another 10-15 minutes until the curry looks luscious and the oil slightly separated from the edges.

a plate of minced meat curry with bitter gourd and a glass of orange juice on the side with blue patterned napkin underneath the plate

Related Posts

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now intrigued to try this bitter gourd curry with minced meat. I would love to have your comments on what you think about the recipe to leave a reply below. And follow me on Instagram, Facebook and/ or Pinterest @soyummyrecipesbydevy to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes you may like.

Thank you and all the best. 

Keema Karela Recipe

Keema Karela - the minced meat curry with bitter gourd garnished with coriander leaves
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Keema Karela Recipe: Minced Meat Curry With Bitter Gourd

Keema Karela offers deliciously rich minced meat curry with a slightly bitter karela. A curry dish that can be enjoyed with naan bread or roti/ chapati as a dry-curry, or with plain rice as a luscious curry with gravy.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 6


  • Mixing bowls.
  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Cooking pan with lid.


  • 17.63 ounces ground meat/ minced meat see the note.
  • 17.83 – 21.16 ounces Karela/ bitter gourd.
  • 5.29 ounces brown onions 2 medium-sized. Sliced.
  • 4 garlic cloves minced.
  • ½ inch ginger minced.
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
  • ½ teaspoon Kalonji/ black seeds/ Nigella Sativa optional (see the note).
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder see the note.
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or according to taste. And extra for rinsing the karela.
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped (see the note).
  • cup cooking oil.
  • cup water.
  • Cilantro/ coriander leaves chopped (optional).


  • Cut the karela/ bitter gourd lengthwise but not through to split in two. Open it and scoop the seeds out using a teaspoon. Then slice the karela into 0.5 cm/0.19-inch thickness. 
  • Place the sliced karela in a mixing bowl and put a teaspoon of salt all over the slices. Set aside for about 10 minutes or so. Then rinse the bitter gourd under running water as you rub it off. You will feel that the outer skin of bitter gourd becomes softened a bit. Squeeze the bitter gourd to rid of the water as much as you can without breaking the karela.
  • Spread the karela on a large frying pan and start to pan roast it until the bitter gourd is softened with light golden and brown roasting colour all over it. Set aside.
  • On a cooking pan, heat the oil and fry the sliced onions with the whole cumin seeds and black seeds (Kalonji/ Nigella Sativa).
  • When the onions become translucent, put the minced meat in and continue frying until the meat brown.
  • Add in the minced ginger-garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, chilli powder, ground black pepper and salt. Cook further until the spices release aroma.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes to the meat mixture. Give it a stir and let it cook with the lid on at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the meat is tender. 
  • Lastly, put the roasted karela into the meat and add ⅓ cup of water then mix well. Continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes with the lid on. You can see a little bit of oil separated from the gravy when your keema karela is ready. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.


  • You can use any ground meat/ minced meat you like. Though lamb mince or beef mince is probably the most popular option.
  • Recently I like to put a little bit of Kalonji in my Pakistani food cooking. Because these little black seeds offer amazing goodness for our health. But you don’t have to worry about this if you don’t have the seeds. You can simply omit the seeds. 
  • I love Kashmiri red chilli powder. Because it has a unique fragrance and a more vibrant colour. But you can use the regular red chilli powder. And if you want your keema karela to be milder, you can swap the chilli powder with paprika powder.
  • When it comes to tomatoes, you can use fresh tomatoes as my recipe suggests or tinned/ canned tomatoes. If you use the latter one, ⅓ cup/ 80 ml/ 2.82 fl. oz canned/ tinned tomatoes are more than enough for this recipe. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 499mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g


Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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