Bilimbi Masala Recipe: A Spicy Keralan Dish To Serve With Rice
Image Credit: Geetha's Rasoi

Bilimbi – the green, sour fruit – is commonly found growing in South Asian countries; out of which, India, more commonly Kerala has many backyards in homes where the short tree fructifies each year. It is also found along the coastal regions of Goa, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – where the hot and humid climes make it favourable for the fruit to grow freely. Also known as bimla in Konkani and bimbal in Marathi, the fruit is used as a souring agent in Indian cooking.

Like its counterparts kokum, tamarind and raw mango, bilimbi has is also used plentifully for seafood dishes as well as pickling. It has a flavour similar to starfruit but much juicier in texture. Found in abundance during the peak of summer, bilimbi is also an amazing ingredient to cook with and make a spicy, savoury and sour curry to enjoy with some steam rice or appams. This bilimbi curry from Kerala is one of the relatively well-known preparations in home kitchens across the state and celebrates the summer fruit as the star of the show.

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Image Credits: CABI Digital Library


  • 200 grams bilimbi, sliced thickly
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, to taste


  • Combine the smashed garlic, chilli powder, coriander, cumin and turmeric powders with a couple of tablespoons of water to form a thick paste.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and temper using fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once it starts to splutter, add the sliced bilimbi and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they turn slightly soft.
  • Pour in the reserved spice paste and cook for a minute or so. Add some water and season with salt. Allow it to cook on a medium-low heat, until it thickens slightly and the bilimbi is soft.
  • Serve warm ladled over rice or eat with appams.

Note: To make a seafood curry, simply add the fish once the sauce starts to thicken and cook until the seafood is ready to be eaten.