Ucche Aloo Bhaja Recipe | Karela Bhaja Bengali recipe | Easy bitter gourd and potato recipe

Ucche Aloo Bhaja, a dish of bitter gourd (Ucche) and potatoes, is a staple in Bengali cuisine, offering a delightful blend of flavors and a symphony of textures. This simple yet flavorful recipe holds a special place in Bengali ‘Ghoroya rannay” (home cooking), often served as a starter to enhance the taste of mouth and open up the appetite for the main course.

The traditional preparation of Ucche Aloo Bhaja harmoniously balances the bitterness of ucche with the starchy goodness of potatoes, creating a unique flavourful experience. Embark on this culinary journey with us as we unveil the secrets to crafting the perfect Ucche Aloo Bhaja, a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Bengal.

My Ucche Aloo Bhaja Recipe

At our home, we usually cook ucche (bitter gourd) dishes without onions or garlic. Since we don’t eat any bitter dishes for dinner, we enjoy Ucche Bhaja (bitter gourd fry) as a starter during lunch. I love ucche the way my mother cooks it, such as Ucche Bhaja (plain bitter gourd fry), Ucche Aloo Bhaja (bitter gourd and potato fry), Ucche Dal (bitter gourd lentil stew), Ucche Begun Bhaja (bitter gourd and eggplant fry), Ucche Aloo Charchari (bitter gourd and potato stir-fry), and many more.

I often prepare Ucche Aloo Bhaja, following my mother’s recipe. I cut the bitter gourd and potatoes into small pieces and fry them in a generous amount of mustard oil, infused with methi dana (fenugreek seeds). Cooking over low heat ensures a crispy texture and mellows out the bitterness of the ucche.

Recipe Video

How To Make Ucche Aloo Bhaja:

  1. Prepping the Ingredients:

    • Begin by preparing the bitter gourd. Wash them thoroughly under running water and then remove the seeds. Cut the bitter gourds lengthwise into thin strips.
    • Peel the potato and thinly slice it. Keep the slices uniform for even cooking.
  2. Cooking Process:

    • Heat mustard oil in a pan over medium heat. Mustard oil adds a distinct flavor to the dish, characteristic of Bengali cuisine.
    • Once the oil is hot, add the  red chilies and fenugreek seeds  to the pan. Allow them to sizzle and release their flavors into the oil.
    • Add the sliced potato to the pan. Stir well to coat the potato with the flavored oil.
    • Cook the potato until it starts to soften. This may take approximately 2 minutes.
    • Next, add the thinly sliced bitter gourd to the pan. Sprinkle turmeric powder over the vegetables and mix well.
    • Season with salt to taste. The bitterness of the gourd will be balanced with the sweetness of the sugar. Sprinkle sugar over the vegetables and mix gently.

Serving suggestion:

Once fried, transfer the crispy ucche aloo bhaja to a serving platter and serve hot as a delicious accompaniment to rice and dal.


Q: Can I use other vegetables in this recipe?

A: Yes, As bitter gourd and potatoes are traditional, for a different twist, feel free to use additional veggies like aubergine or pumpkin..

Q: How can I reduce the bitterness of the bitter gourd?

A: Soaking the sliced bitter gourd in salted water for about 15-20 minutes before cooking can help reduce its bitterness.

Q: Is this dish suitable for vegetarians?

A: Yes, ucche aloo bhaja is a vegetarian dish that’s perfect for those following a plant-based diet. 

Recipe Card

Ucche Aloo Bhaja Recipe | Karela Bhaja Bengali recipe | Easy bitter gourd and potato recipe

Recipe by Roj RannaghareDifficulty: Easy


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Bengali cuisine is known for its simple stir-fried meal called Ucche Aloo Bhaja, also known as Karela Bhaja. The word "bhaja" denotes stir-frying or deep-frying, and "ucche" signifies bitter gourd. At the start of the meal, we are served Karola Bhaja, which we consume with simple steamed white rice.


  • 4 bitter gourd/ ucche ( removed seeds, cut lengthwise )

  • 1 potato. medium -sized (thinly slices )

  • 2 dry red chillies

  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/ methi

  • 1/2 turmeric powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • mustard oil for cooking


  • Heat mustard oil in a kadhai and wait until oil starts smoking.
  • Add dry red chilies and fenugreek seeds and let them splatter on low flame.
  • Now add the sliced potatoes, Sprinkle salt to taste and fry for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add bitter gourd. Stir and mix.
  • Add tumeric and cover the kadhai until the vegetables get tender.
  • To balance the taste add sugar. Mix throughly and switch off the flame.


  • To reduce the bitterness of bitter gourd, add salt and let it rest for a while. When it starts to release water, rinse the bitter gourd slices before cooking.
  • To ensure even cooking, slice the bitter gourd and potatoes into uniform thickness.

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