Kaipakka Mulakittath | Malabar Pickled Bitter-gourd

Bitter-gourd made with some pickling spices, the Malabar way…




Let me start with a life update. My leg is finally feeling so much better now, Alhamdulillah. Last week, the plaster came off. Though there is a little swelling and the fracture is not fully closed, I am at least able to move around and do my basic tasks now. As per the doctor, it will take at least a month and a half to completely heal. I am just grateful to be able to be on the move. It is only during these occasions we realize how much what Allah gives is special and always the best…


I can’t believe that after blogging for 9+ years, this is my first bitter gourd recipe on the blog! It is simply because I am not a fan of this vegetable. I always wonder why should I even buy it when I won’t eat it. Once, HD casually mentioned how much he was missing umma’s kaipakka mulakittath. That is when I realized I had never made them before. This recipe is a very casual pickled side to rice and curry. It is very similar to the kadumaanga, but with the mango replaced with bitter gourd. I took notes from a dear friend of mine, who makes this quite frequently and made it. Alhamdulillah, it turned out really good. I had very little of it but HD really enjoyed it with matta rice/ choru and parippu curry. I also served this as side to biriyani when a couple of friends had come over for lunch. The best part about such dishes is the more they sit, the tastier they become. So always try to make this in advance and store them in a neat airtight container in the fridge, not allowing a wet spoon to touch in! Off to the recipe…





Kaipakka Mulakittath | Malabar Pickled Bittergourd

Course Accompaniment
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda AR


  • 250 gm bitter-gourd (kaipakka/ pavakka)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • A fat pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 inch garlic minced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves minced
  • 10-15 shallots peeled and chopped
  • 4 green chillies minced
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tomato large, topped


  • Wash the bittergourd well. Cut into quarters, clean the seeds and chop them into equally sized small pieces. Set aside.
  • In a mortar and pestle, slightly crush the mustard and fenugreek seeds.
  • In a earthen pot (chatti), heat oil. Add the asafoetida, crushed seeds and allow to crackle.
  • Fry the ginger for a little while.
  • Add the curry leaves, shallots and green chillies and saute till wilted.
  • Add the spice powders and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the chopped bittergourd and toss well. Sprinkle in some salt. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomato and toss. Cook on low flame, till the tomato is mashed and the gourd looks done. Add water if necessary, to avoid sticking.
  • Serve hot with rice or store leftovers in airtight container for one week.


The gourd won't change its color too much. Once the masala is well done and the gourd looks a little soft, you can switch off. 

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