Bharwa Karela (Stuffed Bitter Gourds)

Healthful bitter-gourds (karela) stuffed with tangy onion masala and pan-fried in mustard oil.

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  1. 5-6 bitter gourds (karela)
  2. 3 medium-sized onions
  3. 11/2 tablespoons freshly ground garlic
  4. 1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger
  5. 1 large tomato
  6. 1/2 cup mustard oil
  7. 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  9. 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  10. 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  11. 1/2 tablespoon amchur powder
  12. Salt to taste


  1. Peel the bitter gourds. Make a slit in each of them lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with the help of your thumb or a small spoon.
  2. Apply little salt to the bitter gourds and keep them aside for an hour.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Peel the onions and coarsely grind them in an electric grinder. Keep aside.
  4. Grind the tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger paste. Cook on medium heat while stirring frequently. Cook till the paste turns golden brown in colour.
  6. Add the tomato paste, salt, turmeric, amchur, red-chilli, coriander and cumin powder. Mix well and saute till the moisture gets evaporated and oil starts separating from the masala. Keep aside and let it cool.
  7. Wash the bitter gourds and gently squeeze them. Heat the remaining mustard oil in a broad non-stick pan and place the bitter gourds keeping the slit side upwards. Cook on medium heat till they turn golden brown in colour from all the sides. Drain on an absorbent paper. Let them cool to room temperature.
  8. Once cooled, fill each bitter gourd with a generous amount of stuffing (onion-tomato masala paste).
  9. Serve with roti or paratha.

Bharwa Karela make a great combination with chana dal & roti.

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