Ucche Kumro - Bitter melon with pumpkin

Uchhe Kumro or Begun Bhaja (karela with pumpkin or brinjal fry)


Contributed by Barnali Dutta and the Indian food cooking inspiration.

Published: >December 19, 2013

Yield: 4 servings | Prep time: >00:10 | Cook time: 00:10 | Total time: 00:20


  • Uchhe/Karela/Bittermelon 200g

  • Pumpkin/Brinjal 100g

  • 2 dry whole red chilies

  • Sorshe/Mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon

  • Halud/Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon

  • Salt to taste

  • Mustard oil 2 tbsp

Instructions :

  1. Wash well vegetables and keep bittermelon in a bowl of water for 5 minutes.

  2. Cut bittermelon in to half moon shape and pumpkin in to small flat square shape. Keep both in separate bowls.

  3. Mix turmeric and salt with sliced bittermelon. Keep aside for another 5 to 6 minutes. It will make bittermelon soft to cook more quickly.

  4. After the resting period discard the water which released from the bittermelon.

  5. Now take a pan, heat the oil until it smokes. Add broken red chilies, mustard seeds to the hot oil and wait for mustard seeds splutter.

  6. Fry bittermelon well for 5 to 6 minutes then add pumpkin. Give a good stir, cover the pan, and simmer until done.

  7. After another 5 minutes check if both vegetables are done well, stir carefully as pumpkin will become mashy.

  8. Uchhe kumro fry is now ready to be served.

Traditional usage:

  • You can replace kumro or pumpkin with begun or brinjal, both goes well with bittermelon and both are well known Bengali bitter taste dishes.
  • In the month of Phalgun – Chaitra (Basanta or Spring), Bengali people used to cook ritually a sabji for the daytime meal an overripe brinjal fry (which has dark seeds) with karela, neem leaves or gima shaak which is believed to be an natural antidote of the varicella virus or chicken pox infection.