Stuffed Bitter Gourd (Bharwa Karela)

by Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time

Experience the bold and flavorful world of stuffed bitter gourd, also known as karela, a satisfying Indian dish that will delight your taste buds! This dish is often served as a side with rice or roti and is known for its unique combination of bitter and savoury flavours.


8 Servings
  • 8
    Bitter Gourd (medium-sized) (Karela)
  • 2
    Potatoes (medium-sized) (cubed)

For Stuffing

  • 1tbsp
    Salt (divided)
  • 2cup
    Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1cup
    Tomato (finely chopped)
  • 2
    Green chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1/2tsp
  • 1tsp
    Cumin Powder
  • 1/2tsp
    Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2tsp
    Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • 1tbsp
    Coriander Powder
  • 1tsp
    Carom Seeds
  • 1 1/4tsp
    Dried Mango Powder

For Frying

  • 1/2cup
    Mustard Oil/Vegetable Oil


  1. Scrape and slit the bitter gourds (karela) lengthwise/vertically and scoop out the seeds.

  2. Rub ½ tbsp of salt on the bitter gourds. Keep them aside for 30 minutes to reduce the bitterness of the gourd.

  3. After 30 minutes, wash the bitter gourds with cold water to remove excess salt. Gently squeeze out all the water and keep them aside.

For Stuffing

  1. Chop the onions, tomatoes, and green chilli and place them in a mixing bowl.

  2. Add turmeric, cumin powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder, carom seeds, amchur powder, and 1 tsp salt. (Salt and Pepper can be added as per taste).

  3. Mix everything together until well combined with a spoon.

  4. Stuff the bitter gourds with the mixture.

  5. Once the bitter gourds are stuffed, use a thread and secure the filling by tying them. Start tying at one end of the gourd and work your way to the other end with the thread.

  6. Repeat the process for all the gourds and keep them aside.

  7. Mix and combine the cubed potatoes in the leftover mixture and keep aside.

    Stuffed-Bitter-Gourd-(Bharwa-Karela)-Cubed-Potatoes-With Mixed-Onions-And-Spices.jpg

For Frying

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium to high flame. Once the oil is hot, layer the stuffed bitter gourds and let them cook for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Turn them with the help of a tong or a slotted spoon and cook for 4-5 minutes.

  3. Turn the bitter gourds frequently to ensure that they are cooked evenly from all sides and are golden brown in color.

  4. Transfer the cooked bitter gourds onto a plate and keep aside.

  5. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium to high flame and add the potatoes, and stir. Sprinkle some water, cover, and cook for 6-7 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  6. Now add the stuffed bitter gourds to the pan and mix gently. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Stir occasionally.

  7. Now gently remove the threads from the stuffed bitter gourds.

  8. Serve hot with rice, roti or paratha and daal.

Tips & Tricks

  1. You can use toothpicks or skewers to secure the stuffing.

  2. If you are using mustard oil to fry the bitter gourds, then it should be first smoked hot and then cooled before cooking.

  3. Monitor the oil temperature before frying bitter gourds. Oil should not be too hot before adding bitter gourds as it may burn or be too cold as it may absorb too much oil.

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Recipe by

Leena Kohli


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