Karela/bitter gourd name itself is sufficient enough for half of the family members to make weird faces and express their disinterest in eating this dish. Reason is quite obvious it has a strong bitter taste because of which many people doesn’t like it.
Karela/bitter gourd is often made in our home either in the form of stuffed or stir fried. This recipe of stuffed karela if from my mother’s kitchen with my own twist and additions 🙂
Now lets start the process, as you must be wondering how few ingredients can transform a bitter gourd in a toothsome dish which has crunchy outer skin and medley of spices in its stuffing.
Cuisine: Indian, Uttar Pradesh, North Indian
Recipe Type: Side-dish
Prep time: 15-20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Level of cooking: Medium
- 10-12 small karela/bitter gourd
- 3-4 tbsp mustard oil (or any oil canola/olive/vegetable)
- 1 tsp zeera/cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp fennel powder/saunf powder
- 2 tsp dry mango powder/amchur
- 1-2 tbsp slightly roasted besan/chickpea flour
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 medium-sized grated raw mango (optional)
- 1 medium-sized grated onion (optional)
- Scrape the karela/bitter gourd. Slit each karela vertically keeping the base intact. Remove the seeds and wash karela throughly.
- Apply some salt on each karela and leave it for 1-2 hours. This process helps in reducing the bitterness from Karela’s.
- Take a bowl, add all the dry spice powder along with salt, roasted besan/chickpea flour. If using grated onion & raw mango add them at this stage only along with rest of the dry spices. I have used both in my cooking.
- Mix well, if it feels too dry, sprinkle few drops of water to moist the mixture.
- Taste the mixture at this point, add any spices or salt if required as per your taste.
- Stuff the spice powder stuffing in the karela/bitter gourd.
- Tie a thread tightly around each karela/bitter gourd
- Microwave these stuffed karela’s for about 5 mins. They will become little tender. if you don’t have a microwave, you can put them in pressure cooker and give them 2-3 whistles. This is totally an optional step. You can directly start frying karela’s after stuffing them.
- Take a pan, add mustard oil or any oil of your choice, add cumin seeds, once they start sizzling, add the stuffed karela’s to this. Cover pan with a lid and cook for 10-15 mins on medium flame, keep stirring occasionally.
- Add rest of the spice stuffing, if there is left over, stir well and close the lid again.
- Once karela’s are tender, remove the lid and let it fry until dark brown and crispy on medium-low heat.
- While serving, remember to remove the threads 🙂
- Serve hot and crispy with roti, paratha or dal-rice.
- If you are using mustard oil for frying, make sure it’s properly hot before adding the karela’s else strong aroma of mustard oil will lower the taste of other spices.
- Use of raw mango and onions are optional.
- If using raw mango, adjust dry mango powder/amchur as per the sourness of raw mango.
- If you are not able to find small karela’s, you can use medium-big size karela’s. If karela’s are big enough, you can stuff them and then cut into two pieces before frying them.