Stuffed Karela (Stuffed Bitter Gourd)

Stuffed Karela
Photo Credits: Ravi Talwar

Cooked Karela (Bitter Gourd) stuffed with a mix of Indian spices and fried with onions, this dish is a favorite in Punjab (India). The spices help to eliminate the otherwise bitter taste Karela has and make this healthy veggie tasteful. Cold milk or Buttermilk compliments Stuffed Karela beautifully.


  • Karela (Bitter Gourd)                                         6 medium
  • Turmeric powder                                              1-1/4 teaspoon
  • Dry mango powder (Amchur)                            2-1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder                                             1-1/2 tablespoon
  • Red chili powder                                               1-1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt                                                                   2 tablespoons
  • Thick malai (Thick fresh cream)                         1 tablespoon
  • Onions, peeled and cut into thick pieces             2 medium
  • Milk                                                                  2 tablespoons
  • Cooking Oil                                                       4 tablespoons


  1. Wash and peel the karelas with a knife roughly, don’t peel them off completely as is done by a peeler; just scrap out the uppermost prickly layer. Then slit them vertically from one side.
  2. Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt in 2 glasses water and soak the karelas in it for 5-6 hours so that they may shed their bitterness.
  3. After 5-6 hours take them out of the salted water and wash thoroughly by scrubbing with hands under running water. Then squeeze them completely between your palms and remove the hard seeds if any. Keep aside.

Note: Wash the karelas thoroughly by rubbing to remove salt and maximum bitterness.

  1. Place a wok or kadahi with oil on medium heat. Once the oil heats up reduce the heat and carefully slide in the karelas.
  2. Let them cook on low heat until they become tender and turn brown in color. Turn their side from time to time so that they get cooked evenly and turn brown from all sides. This will take approximately 20-25 minutes.
  3. Remove the cooked karelas from the oil and keep aside in a plate.
  4. Remove the oil from the wok leaving 1 tablespoon behind. Put it again on medium-high heat.
  5. Add sliced onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are nicely browned. Stir occasionally.
  6. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder and 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder and mix well. Then transfer the fried spiced onions to a bowl.
  7. Combine the remaining spices in a bowl and add the malai too. Mix to make a thick paste and fill the paste in cooked karelas.

Tip: You may use grated raw mango instead of mango powder in the filling, but then do not use malai.

  1. Put the wok again on low heat with 2 tablespoons milk in it.
  2. Add stuffed karelas to it, filled side up. Cover the wok and let the karelas simmer in the milk for 5-7 minutes or until the milk is well absorbed.
  3. When done, transfer them to a serving dish with a tong.
  4. Arrange some fried spicy onions at the side and serve hot.

Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Leave a Reply