This is one amazing dish, however people have pre-conceived notion “Karela” implies bitterness and not good in taste. I must add it has an acquired taste. “Stuffed Karela” aka “Bitter Groud” or “Bharwan Karela” is something that is made with perfect combination of spices and stuffing, which gives its unique taste. The crispy surface and delicious stuffing makes it a desirable dish. As a child I hated the sight of it, but gradually over the time developed the taste for this and now its one of my favourite vegetable. You can have this as a perfect side dish with any meal. My take on Step by Step recipe of Stuffed Karela is shown below.
Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Marination time: 1-1.5 hour
- Bitter gourd/karela – 5
- Onion – 1 big(finely chopped)
- Grated Ginger – 1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida/Heeng – 1/4 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
- Fennel powder – 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dry mango powder – 1 teaspoon
- Chaat Masala – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – 2 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 tablespoon
- Wash karelas thoroughly and using a knife, scrape the skin and keep the scraped skin aside.
- Make a slit in the karelas length wise and remove the seeds. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on karela and rub it all over. Let this marinate for hour and half.
- Wash the karelas thoughrouly and squeeze all the water out. Keep them aside to get little dry.
- Prepare the stuffing : Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add cumin seeds and asafoetida to it. After the cumin seeds crack, add the chopped onions and sauté till they are pinkish brown. Add all the spices powder, grated ginger and sauté again. Now add karela scrapings and sauté again. Cover the pan with lid and let it cook fir 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and let it cook till all the water evaporates. Switch off the heat now and let it cool a bit.
- Stuff the split karelas with this mixture. Keep the leftover mixture which we will use while cooking karelas. Join the slit in the karelas with the help of toothpick so that the stuffing does not come out while cooking.
- Add 1 tablespoons of oil in a pan/kadhai over medium heat. Spread the stuffed karelas in the pan, and then the left over mixture and cover it with lid, and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes.
- Turn the karelas to another side and sauté and let them cook from this side too. Repeat the process of flipping karelas until all the sides of the karela are properly cooked.
- Switch off the heat and serve them hot, and take off tooth pick before serving. Enjoy it with poori or phulka.
- Once cooked, these karelas can be refrigerated up to a week. So you can cook them in advance and enjoy them for long. Similarly, you can cook and pack them for your travel, as these can easily be kept for up to 30 hours at room temperature.
- You can tie stuffed Karela’s while cooking with thread in case you do not have toothpick.
- These can be cooked by deep frying after filling the stuffing in them.
- You can try other stuffings too, like Paneer.