Bharvaan Karela - Stuffed Bitter Melon - Stuffed Bitter Gourd

Getty Images / ajaykampani 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
392 Calories
28g Fat
36g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 139mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 3g
Calcium 45mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this recipe, the karela (bitter gourd/ melon) is stuffed with a tangy filling! The best part? The bitterness of the karela is more or less removed with a 'special treatment'!


  • 4 medium karelas ​(bitter melon)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 3 large onions (chopped very fine)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 3 large tomatoes (chopped very fine)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash the karelas. Cut off top and tail. Slit them through lengthwise leaving 1/2" from top and bottom ends so that the two halves do not separate. Carefully, use a spoon to scoop out the pith. Discard the pith.

  2. Put 4 cups of water in a deep vessel and add 1 tablespoon of salt to it. Mix to dissolve salt. Put the karelas in this salt water and set up to boil. When water comes to a boil, simmer and cook till the karela skin begins to get soft. Remove from water, drain well and keep aside on a plate to cool.

  3. In a separate pan, heat 2-3 tbsps of cooking oil. Add the saunf/ fennel seed to the oil and fry till spluttering stops. Now add the onions and fry till soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Now add the tomato and cook till pulpy.

  4. Add the tomato sauce, turmeric, red chilli, coriander, and cumin powders and salt to taste. Mix well. Fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring often to prevent from burning. Turn off fire and allow mixture to cool completely.

  5. Fill this mixture in the pre-cooked karelas. Tie with a string (to prevent filling from spilling out) and keep aside.

  6. Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium flame. Add the karelas to the oil and fry till crispy. Now turn and fry the same way on the other side. Add more cooking oil if required. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep on paper towels.

Serve with rice and Daal of your choice.