Masala Bharwan Karela | Bittergourd stuffed with Spices

Few people like Karela. My dad loves it. As a kid I used to think he is weird for actually like it. It all changed, when I was in college. As in most hostel messes across the country, the food was barely tasty. So on days we could not go to the city to eat in restaurants, we had a few "aunties" in our campus who would deliver lunch/dinner to the hostel in tiffin carriers if we informed them beforehand. The food was simple, but it was home cooked. One of those tiffins, one day, contained some small strips of some vegetable fried with rava aka Kapo / Podi. I loved it but could not even identify the vegetable. I was surprised to hear, it was the karela. It looked like I could be weird and like karelas. I told this to my aunt once and she made karela sabzi and that's where my love affair with the karela began. Since then I've made karela in various ways. This was my first time stuffing it.

Stuffed Karela

Use small karela/ bittergourd

Tie and fry

Masala Bharwan Karela | Bittergourd stuffed with Spices

Karela or Bitter gourd stuffed with spices and fried to make a dry curry.

Recipe Type:  Side
Cuisine:          Indian
Prep Time:     10 minutes
Cook time:     45 minutes
Yield:              4 servings


8-10 Karela/ Bitter gourd(small 2-3" ones)
1 large Onion
6-8 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder -
1/2 tsp Amchur
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Thread to tie

  • Boil the karelas in salted water for 5 mins. Remove from heat and leave them in water for 2 more mins.
  • Remove from water and wipe them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Slit the karela lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Do not throw these away.
  • Chop the onion finely and add to the karela seeds.
  • Add all the spices and salt and mix well.
  • Stuff the karela with the mixture and tie using a thread.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a shallow pan and place the karela without any overlap
  • Keep turning them for even cooking.
  • You can also deep fry them.
  • If there is any stuffing remaining, just saute it in a little oil and serve along with the karela.
  • Serve hot with rice or roti.

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