Nepalese Karela and Alsi ka Achar (Bitter Gourd and Flax)

Nepali cuisine consists of several spicy sides dishes which are eaten with rice and lentils (dal). These are called “achars’ or chutneys and are made with a variety of vegetables. One can use the base recipe for the achar and just vary the vegetable that is used.

Here is a wonderful recipe that Manju makes which comprises of bitter gourd (karela) and is topped with ground roasted flax seeds.

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Manju’s Bitter Gourd and Flax Seed Achar (Karela)

Serves 4Print This Recipe


2 Bitter Gourds (Karela), sliced

3 tbsp. mustard oil (sarson ka tel)

½ tsp. red chili powder

2 tbs. whole flax seeds

1 tsp. panch phorun seeds

1-2 whole green chilies, slit lengthwise

3 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped



·      In a small pan, roast flax seeds over medium heat for 3-4 minutes and grind.

·      Set aside.

·      In a small wok or frying pan, add 1 tsp. mustard oil.

·      Allow the oil to heat to smoking point.

·      Add the sliced bitter gourd.

·      Sauté for about 10 minutes.

·      Add chili powder.

·      Cook for 5-7 minutes until the bitter gourd browns.

·      Set aside.

·      In a wok or kadai, heat 2 tbsp. mustard oil to smoking point.

·      Add 1 tsp. panch phorun seeds.

·      Add the green chilies.

·      Add chopped tomatoes and salt to taste.

·      Cook covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

·      Add cilantro and remove from heat.

·      Add the cooked bitter gourd to this tomato mixture and add ground flax seeds on tops.

·      Mix everything very well, adjust seasonings and serve hot or cold.

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2 thoughts on “Nepalese Karela and Alsi ka Achar (Bitter Gourd and Flax)

  1. Thanks for nice information . Eating right is important for being healthy . I have recently started to include flaxseeds in my diet . Unfortunately, it is not available in my nearby store so I need to order online from . Please note flaxseeds is bulky item so shipping charges might be little on higher side so first try at your nearby store then if not available then only buy from .

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