Mixed vegetable curry with plantain & bitter melon


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

I am treading cautiously and respectfully around this dish, which is revered by Bangladeshi people. It is beautiful, and shows how countries renowned for their fish and meat dishes can have stunning vegetarian dishes too.

Plantain and bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, really are a great pair, complementing each other both texturally and in flavour. Bitter melon is now being made into tablets and sold in the West as a medicinal food, while we in the subcontinent have known of its healing benefits for years, and understood how its bitterness can be subdued by cooking it with plantain.

Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking 20 minutes


  • 2 marunga (drumsticks), or 1 white cucumber
  • 5–6 green beans
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine)
  • 2 medium-sized bitter melons
  • 1 ridged gourd
  • 100 g ( oz) pumpkin (winter squash), peeled
  • 2 potatoes, peeled
  • 4 small or 2 large plantains, peeled and chopped into 1 cm (½ inch) discs
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw white rice, coarsely made into paste by blitzing it in a blender with a little water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons mustard paste (see tip)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric


Cut the marunga and beans into 4 cm (1½ inch) lengths, and dice the eggplant, bitter melons, gourds, pumpkin and potatoes into evenly sized cubes.

Heat 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of the mustard oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and ground rice paste. As the mustard seeds start popping, add all the vegetables, including the plantain, mixing the oil through them until the vegetables are well coated. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are half cooked.

Remove the lid and pour in about 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water. Stir in the ginger paste, mustard paste and turmeric, mixing well. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the remaining mustard oil and remove from the heat.

Serve warm, with white rice.