Sri Lankan Recipe – Thumba Kariwila Stir-fry / Spiny Gourd

Sri Lankan recipes-Spiny Gourd stir fry-Diabetic friendly

Thumba Kariwila is a type of bitter gourd which has numerous health benefits. Also known as Kantola or Spiny Gourd, this vegetable gives delicious dishes once cooked. Earlier I shared a recipe on how to cook Thumba Kariwila as a curry in Sri Lankan style. Today recipe is about a stir fry with this spiny gourds/Thumba Kariwila.

Thumba Kariwila-Spiny Gourd-Kantola

One of the health benefits of Spiny Gourd is that it has the ability of reducing blood sugar level and hence good for Diabetic patients. Other than that, Spiny Gourd is a good source of folate.
This stir fry recipe is another experiment in my Sri Lankan kitchen. I tried an Indian recipe from VahChef with slight adjustments and used Sri Lankan spices. The outcome was really good and this Spiny Gourd stir fry well goes with Sri Lankan taste.

Before cooking, I pan fried spiny gourd. This actually reduced cooking time. I noticed usually Spiny Gourd takes some time to cook. But by frying it slightly, I could reduce the cooking time. Tomato added some sourness; therefore we didn’t feel the bitter taste of Spiny Gourd in this dish.

Thumba Kariwila Stir-fry

Try this recipe at home. It will be a good addition for your vegetable sides collection.

Here is the recipe for Thumba Kariwila Stir fry. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings)

200g Spiny Gourd (Thumba Kariwila)
1 medium Onion
1 medium size tomato
½ tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn curry powder
½ tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn Chili powder
¼ tspn fenugreek seeds
1-2 sprigs Curry Leaf
½ tspn cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Cooking  Oil 


Wash, remove the ends & roughly cut spiny gourd.
Slice onion. Chop tomato.
First fry spiny gourd and keep aside. (Pan frying is fine)
Heat a pan with 2-3 tbsp. oil. Add mustard seeds.
Once mustard seeds start splutter, add onion.
Sauté until onions are golden colour and emit aroma.

Then add chopped tomato and mix well. Fry till tomatoes are tender.
Then add turmeric powder. Mix well. After that add curry powder & chili powder.
Add fenugreek seeds too.
When tomatoes are tender and mixed well with onion, add fried spiny gourd (thumba Kariwila) into this mix.

Mix well, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Finally, Add salt as per taste.
Add cumin seeds and curry leaf.
Cook for another 1 minute.
It is ready to serve.

Serve with rice & enjoy!

Sri Lankan Recipes-Thumba Kariwila Stir-fry

Below is the video on how to cook spiny gourd in Sri Lankan style.