Sautéed Caraili


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Caraili, a type of bitter melon, is a standard vegetable in the East Indian diet. It is light green and resembles a knobby-skinned cucumber. If you like collard greens, escarole, or other bitter vegetables, you’ll find caraili appealing as well. It is readily available in Asian and Middle Eastern markets and sometimes makes an appearance in the tropical produce section of larger grocery stores. Although you can substitute zucchini in this dish, the characteristic bitter flavor will be missing.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 3 caraili, stem ends removed, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large, wide frying pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, frying until golden brown, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the nigella seeds and fry until they begin to pop, about 15 seconds. Add the caraili and stir well, frying for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
  3. Stir in the salt and black pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the caraili is soft, about 15 minutes. Serve with rice or roti.