Stuffed Karela (Bitter gourd)

Bitter gourd is a young, tender, edible fruit-pod.  Although its bitter taste and the very name of it, might turn some people away from it, in-fact, it really can do wonders to your health through virtue of its disease preventing and health promoting attributes. This is one amazing vegetable. Thing is, it’s been encumbered with the name ‘bitter gourd’ which is a turn-off for most people like me. My parents and my husband love this bitter vegetable and as far back as I could remember, I have been lectured on the health benefits of eating karela which I have been choosing to flout.  But I can’t really turn my back on these uneven surfaced vegetable when my husband invariably always gets it from the market. He likes it best when it’s cooked in the Punjabi way.


Presenting my Stuffed Karela recipe – Punjabi style


  • 6-8 karelas

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds powder (saunf)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 or 4 green chillies


  • Boil the karelas with salt and turmeric for few minutes. Some like to scrape off the rough surface of the bitter gourd but since my husband likes the bitter taste of it, I don’t mess with it.
  • Let it cool down
  • Slit length wise on one side and remove the bitter juice and scoop out the hard seeds, if any.
  • Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the cumin seeds, as these sizzle and become fragrant stir in the onions and fry until translucent
  • Add the garlic and green chillies. Fry until the onions are golden brown (5-10 minutes). This is very important as the seeds will crisp up.
  • Once browned stir in the amchoor, fennel, coriander, chilli, salt and turmeric and besan. Fry for a few seconds and remove from the heat.

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Once cooled use a spoon or your hands and stuff the skins with equal amounts of the mixture. Hands are better as you will also cover the outside with the juices and oils from the stuffing as well.

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Press the stuffing into the skins. You can use a little cotton thread to wrap around each one to help hold their stuffing in.

Place the karela back into the pan with a little oil and cook them evenly until they turn a golden brown color all over

These are delicious served with a red lentil dhal, plain yoghurt and roti.

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5 thoughts on “Stuffed Karela (Bitter gourd)

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