Wash and cut the bitter gourd into thin roundels. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry bitter gourd slices lightly. Drain and keep aside. Make a thick paste of poppy seeds, mustard seeds and ginger.
Heat the remaining oil in a kadai. Add panch phoron and bay leaves. When the seeds start to crackle, add the chopped vegetables and stir lightly. Add the ground spices and stir for five to seven minutes. Add two cups of water and cover. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally till vegetables are almost cooked. Add the fried bitter gourd, salt and sugar. Stir and add a tablespoon of ghee. Cook for another two minutes till gravy is not too thick nor too dry. Serve hot.