bharwa karela
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Bharwa Karela Masaledar-Punjabi Style

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Bharwa karela or stuffed bitter gaurd is a popular stuffed bitter gourd recipe from North Indian Cuisine. This recipe is made in many different ways from a dry sauteed dish to a sweet and sour version. Here I share my family recipe of bitter gourds filled with ground spices and sauteed with caramelized onions. This is a Punjabi-style recipe of Bharwan karela with bitter notes from the bitter gourd balanced by the sweetness of the caramelized onions. It makes for an excellent vegan side dish with some roti, paratha, naan or any North Indian vegetarian meal.

Health Benifits-

Bitter gourd or Karela has many health benefits. It has many vital vitamins, and minerals and also has blood purifying properties. So why not include this wonder vegetable in our diet once a week? This is one of my favourite stuffed vegetables. My kids who do not like bitter gourds, love this Achari Bharwa karela or stuffed bitter gourd.

Karela or bitter gourd is a vegetable that is not liked by many people. Personally, I know so many people who just don’t eat this veggie. Infact, myself when young dosent like this vegetable and never used to make it, However, now i start liking this vege and include it in many ways in my daily menu. The reason of not liking is obvious. It has a strong bitter taste that many people don’t like.

My mother does not add fennel powder. But I strongly recommend adding fennel powder as its sweet flavors just enhance this dish. It is also good for digestion and adds a good aroma and flavor to the spice mix.

The onions are browned and as a result, impart their sweetness in this dish. This takes away from the slight bitterness that is there in the dish if any.

Moreover,I inclueded few more recipes like

Bharwa Karela Masaledar-Stuffed Bitter Guard

Recipe by MINAL SHARMACourse: Bengali Cuisine, Indian Curries, PARTY MEAL PLANNING, summer bites, TRAVEL BITES


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 4 bitter melon (karela)

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • For the Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 2 large onion grated

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)

  • 1/2 teaspoon methi ( fenugreek seeds)

  • 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 chilli powder adjust to taste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mango powder (amchoor)

  • For Cooking ;
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

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


  • Preparing Kerala
  • Wash karelas thoroughly and using a knife, scrape the skin. Set the scrapes aside.
  • Make a slit in the karelas length-wise and remove the seeds.
  • 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.
  • Squeeze the karelas to remove all the marinade. Wash karelas twice with hot water and then squeeze out all the water.
  • Separate the scrapings from the whole karelas.
  • Preparing the Filling:
  • 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.
  • Add the cumin seeds, Methi Dana and asafetida to the oil. After the cumin seeds crack, add the karela scrapings and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  • Add grated onions and stir-fry till light golden in colour.
  • Add gram flour (besan) and stir-fry for another minute.
  • Add all the remaining dry spices: coriander powder, fennel powder, turmeric, chilli powder, and mango powder. Sauté for a minute and then turn off the heat.
  • 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:
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a saucepan 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.
  • Turn the karelas over to the uncooked side and cook for about 1 minute. Repeat until all four sides of the karelas are cooked.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and the remaining spice mixture over the karelas. Cover the pan and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  • 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.
  • Stuffed karela can be served hot or cold and refrigerated for for up to a week.

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  • Variations
  • For a slightly sweeter taste add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the cooked spice filling, prior to stuffing the karela.
  • If your kids don’t like the bitter taste of karela then do not add scrapings in the filling I am sure your kids will love it

Did you try the recipe? please review it :)