Stuffed Bitter Gourd – Bharwa Karela Veg Starters Recipe

by - August 29, 2018

When my mom watches cooking shows on her favourite Marathi channels, I sometimes sit with her and enjoy watching the recipes. These cooking shows usually come between 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm when we're having our lunch. So it's like a lovely bonding time for me and my mom as we watch different recipes, are amazed seeing a few, and totally grunt after seeing some. 
I came across a similar recipe that involved a bitter gourd and the masala, but there was no stuffing. The chef just smeared the masala instead of stuffing the mix in the bitter gourd. I did not pay much attention on the ingredients but was sure of making something similar. I asked my mom to shop for bitter gourd the next time she hits the vegetable market. 

I did try searching a recipe before making, but then ended up with a dish that was completely different than the one seen on the cooking show!
If you dislike bitter gourd, you might want to try this out to change your mind. Well and if you love bitter gourd, then I'm sure you will love this recipe too!

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8
Veg/Non-veg: Veg


1⁄4 kg bitter gourd, peeled, deseeded, and cut in two
1 tbsp gram flour

5 kashmiri chillis, roasted
8 flakes of garlic
1 large onions, chopped
1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp goda masala
2 tbsp gram flour (besan)
1 tbsp tomato ketchup or 1 medium tomato
salt for taste
sugar for taste


1. Wash bitter gourd and soak it in salt-infused water for five minutes. This is to reduce the bitterness.
2. Pat dry and peel off the rough skin. Cut the bitter gourd horizontally into two parts. Slit open each part from the middle and take off the seeds. 
3. Sprinkle and spread salt on each part of the gourd to further reduce the bitterness.
4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry bitter gourd while you cover the pan. Ensure to turn sides from time to time. Repeat this until the bitter gourd is cooked. 
5. Meanwhile, for the stuffing, heat 1 tsp oil in a wok and roast kashmiri chillis until they turn brownish. Grind the roasted chillis along with fennel seeds and keep aside. 
6. In the same wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry chopped garlic cloves. Sprinkle some salt to speeden the frying.
7. Add chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent and brownish. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and goda masala. Add in the kashmiri chilli-fennel seeds paste. Fry.

8. Allow the stuffing to cool down and then grind it lightly, for about a few seconds. This is to reduce the size of chopped onions.
9. Take the stuffing in a bowl and add tomato ketchup and sugar. Mix. Add gram flour. 
10. Your bitter gourd must be cooked by now. Take each slice and fill in the stuffing. Press down the stuffing and then sprinkle some gram flour on top. (The gram flour acts as a protective shield and stops the stuffing from falling while you fry.)
11. In the pan, add 1 tbsp oil and carefully place the stuffed bitter gourd pieces upside down, meaning, the stuffing should be facing the pan. Keep the stove on a low flame throughout this process.
12. Turn the pieces and fry the backs for a minute. Turn off the stove and carefully place the bitter gourd on a serving dish. Enjoy with tomato ketchup or pudina (mint) chutney!

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