Stuffed Karela (Bitter Melon)

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Stuffed karela makes a great side dish to any meal. Karelas have many health benefits including  a home remedy for diabetes.

Recipe will serve 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the Marinate:

  • 4 bitter melon (karela)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds powder (saunf)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mango powder (amchoor)

For Cooking Step

  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Also need some thread to wrap the filled karelas before cooking.

Method:

Preparing the Kerala

  1. Wash karelas thoroughly and using a knife, scrape the skin. Set the scrapes aside.
  2. Make a slit in the karelas length wise and remove the seeds.
  3. Add karelas and the skin scrapings to a bowl. Mix and sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Let it marinate for at least an hour.
  4. Squeeze the karelas to remove all the marinade. Wash karelas twice with hot water and then squeeze out all the water.
  5. Separate the scrapings from the whole karelas.

Preparing the Filling:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if the seed cracks right away, the oil is ready.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida to the oil. After the cumin seeds crack, add the karela scrapings and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add gram flour (besan) and stir-fry for another minute.
  4. Add all the remaining dry spices: coriander powder, fennel powder, turmeric, chili powder, and mango powder. Sauté for a minute and then turn off the heat.
  5. Stuff the split karelas with this spice mixture (there should be some spice mix remaining, which will be used later). Tie the karelas with a thread so that the stuffing does not come out while cooking.

Cooking the Stuffed karelas:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Spread the stuffed karelas in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the karelas over to the uncooked side and cook for about 1 minute. Repeat until all four sides of the karelas are cooked.
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and the remaining spice mixture over the karelas. Cover the pan and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove the lid to see if the karelas are tender. Gently turn them over a few more times, making sure they are covered with the spice mixture.
  5. Stuffed karela can be served hot or cold and can be refrigerated up to a week.

Variations

For a slightly sweeter taste add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the cooked spice filling, prior to stuffing the karela.


31 thoughts on “Stuffed Karela (Bitter Melon)

  1. The stuffed karela recipe seems to be very interesting, i would definitely want to give it a try, although im a bit skeptical about using the karela scrappings in the filling, as I feel they are more bitter than the actual whole karela..not sure though

  2. Hi Manjula,
    This is an excellent recipe. Thank you for explaining while you demonstrate.

    If you do not mind, I like to use the stainsteel frying pan that you use in this video. I have seen you using the same in many recipes. I am trying to do exactly as you do in your kitchen. Would you tell me what kind of pan is used in the video. Normally stainless steel pan stick. Please pardon me for asking on your pan.

    I have tried your tomato chutney. It is one of the favourite dishes in my home now. Thank you again for your website. I would appreciate a reply from you.

  3. Super tasty and healthy ! I added 1 spoon sugar to it and did not tie with thread but it went very well.

    I did not like karela before this recipe. Now I love it.

    Thank you.

  4. This karela recipe is realy tasty,
    the bitterness was less.
    I never liked karela bub this really tasted good.
    In stuffing u can also add paneer grated ,kaju and kismiss it will add a sweet flovour.
    It would taste really good.
    What say?

  5. Manjula aunty i just love your videos and the way you explain ever detail thanks a lot for this particular recipe I used a very unhealthy filling earlier but this one is yummy and healthy. i supplemented with the karela seeds while frying the cumin it gave a nice crunch to the filling. this was also in a way inspired by you. your zucchini rice is another major hit with my sons. thank you. will give the cereal chivda a try this week end heres wishing they like it.

  6. hello antiji,
    myself n my hubby love ur home made recipes. we tried few recipes before. came out well n yummy. thanku so much. today i tried ur stuffed karela recipe with scrapes. i never heard of adding this. but after i cooked they were very good. my hubby liked them too. i tried so many stuffed karela recipes but we weren’t satisfied. but this recipe is awesome. thanku once again.

  7. autyji ek kewalek ghante marinate karne se karele ka kadwapan nikal jaayega mere husband ko karele ka kadwapan bilkul pasand nahi any tips to totally remove the sourness

  8. It says 1 & 1/2 tablespoons on the written recipe even though it says teaspoons correctly in the video. These were delicious!

  9. my mom cook karela in the very same way and its delicious but as my bro and father in law dont like the saurness of karela ….after frying the deseeded karelas i generally fill paneer(jeera paneer burji with few coarsly grounded cashew nuts and raisins(saungi)…..)and its really yummmmmm and whoso ever dont like karela love the karela definetly……….and one more tip……my mom add half the paneer and half the khoya………….try it out you will see bittergaurd in new avatar………………………………..
    thanks

  10. Namaste Manjula ji, I appreciate your recipe of my favorite vegetable-Karela. My question is how did you remove the thread before serving?
    thank you
    RSN

  11. thank you for such a nice recipe. I tried to make it today…and it came out really well. My husband who generally hates eating ‘karela’ , is now loving it…..

  12. Hello Manjula aunty,

    Thank you for sharing wonderful recipes. I will definitely try them. You look very modern aunty with your new look…

    Best regards,
    Sabira

  13. Hello Manjula Aunty,

    I love your recipes, your passion and style of cooking reminds me of my mother. This is my fav. recipe for Keralas and I make it often eough, but never thought of using scrapes in stuffing. I have used them in other recipes but I will have to try this next time.

    Thanks!
    Meghna

  14. Aunty Manjula,

    We love your recipes. Please inform me when you have your cookbook published. I think it will be a great gift idea.

  15. Hi manjula aunty!

    In Guyana, we make this same meal but call it kalounji. it is stuffed with shrimp curry sometimes too, but as you are a vegetarian, this meal seems just right. we usually boil the karila in salted water for about 10 minutes to take out the bitterness, but your process seems much easier, because if you over boil it, they become mushy. with the diabetes cure, it is known to lower blood sugar levels, I have not heard of it curing it. My grandparents used to eat the karila raw

  16. Karela (bitter melon) is not a proven treatment for diabetes. It MIGHT help somewhat with the glucose/insulin balance, but it’s not scientifically tested. It is an ayurvedic remedy (not a cure) and if you have diabetes you must continue to receive competent medical care.

    Also, if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes you must continue to monitor your blood sugar levels as recommended by your doctor.

    1. are you a diabetic, Jaya.. that you know so much about the disease..? or are you a doctor??? I mean, here is someone who is helping us learn and all you can do is preach! please dont carp on this site.. aunty is extremely special… she teaches everything so wonderfully and each dish i have tried from this site turns out perfectly! and my grandpa was a diabetic – he controlled it not thru insulin shots, but a low glycemic index diet & regular doses of karela, jamun and amla! and lived to be 90+! so go figure!

  17. Thread is not required to tie. You can cut Karela by two sides instead of one. It can keep filling. To tie with thread is absolutely wrong procedure.

  18. hello
    i think if somebody has diabieties they should cook the karela without marinateit because bitterness is more benefit to diabeties patient.

  19. Dear Manjula Aunty,

    Thank You so much for honoring my request for the recipe of Bitter Melon.

    It’s simply amazing.

    Thank You so much for your help again, I really really appreciate that.

    Regards,

    Jimmy Shah

  20. Thank you for sending this Bitter Melon recipes.I am waiting to know about to cook this.I going to try thank you again

  21. Hello Manjula Aunty, I have been watching ur cooking videos and tried many receipes. In this receipe, don’t we need to remove the thread?
    What kind of thread we have to use?

    Your prompt reply is highly appreciable.

    1. Hey Arathi, I was wondering the same thing, i am sure u need to remove the thread and aunty just forgot to do that, but i am sure the recipie is going to be so good and the thread must have been cooked in the process that eating it will not harm us……………ha ha!

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