August 25, 2004

stuffed karela (for two)

i have always hated the karela. maybe as a child i used to associate its bitterness with the powdered medicine-mixed-with-honey i had to have almost every other day. i guess for the same reason, i still dislike honey.

but these days, likes and dislikes have ceased to matter as much as they used to, and the importance of eating the right food and vitamins is what comes first. that is, unless your husband/family can resist fried stuff and buckets of humous unlike mine 😉

so i tried to make something different with bittergourd, something that i would not need to have to add jaggery to, to avoid the awful ‘uggghhh’ expression on my face while tasting it. i looked up google and found three interesting recipes i thought i would like to try, picked up ingredients and mixed them about, and here is how it turned out…

what you need:

bittergourd or karela – 2 long and thick ones
two onions, chopped coarse and roasted, along with
two tomatoes, diced
one onion chopped fine
one tbsp ginger-garlic paste
one tsp corainder and cumin seeds, ground coarsely
salt to taste

de-bitterising the gourds:

— chop the ends of the bittergourd and cut into three pieces
— scoop out the seeds and insides and keep aside (throw out the seeds, leave the coverings)
— sprinkle a little salt over the now ’empty’ karela pieces to reduce its bitterness, and also some salt over the scooped-out insides of the bittergourd.
— leave aside for an hour.

for the stuffing:

— roast and blend the onion and tomatoes to a paste
— heat oil in a kadhai and add in the ground coriander and cumin and ginger-garlic paste
— now add the onion and tomato puree and stir
— add the bittergourd ‘insides’ that you had kept aside after you squeeze out any excess water
— add salt to taste, fry this mixture for a while, until the paste becomes thicker and ‘stuffable’

finally, the recipe:

— drain the bittergourd pieces on a papertowel or press lightly so as to remove any excess water (do not squeeze them)
— fill in the pieces with the onion-tomato masala
— fry them in a flat pan with a little oil dribbled over them
— set the flame on low gas and cover with a lid for a while
— when they are half cooked (the pieces will be tender and the stuffing will be well packed within)…
— place another kadhai on the gas and heat some oil
— fry the finely chopped onions and add to it any leftover onion-tomato masala you had prepared earlier
— place the stuffed karela pieces gently with a spoon into this kadhai and cook for a while

if you exclude the de-bitterising time, the recipe should take you just about 20 to 25 minutes to make!

don’t forget to garnish with with dessicated coconut, coriander leaves and a dash of lime. enjoyed best with chapatis or plain hot dal and rice!

let me know if you liked it too! 🙂


  • kaktose said:

    After filling, tie with string. Will prevent filling from coming out.

    To improve, soak in salty imli (tamarind) water. The sour touch is great. Reduce tomato in filling.
    For God’s sake do not sprinkle with dessicated coconut!

  • MadMan said:

    The Chinese make karela less bitter by blanching it for a short while. I still can’t stomach the thing.

    And hey, you’re not the only one with a food blog. 😉

    Visit for my chef blog.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.