Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bharvaan Karela (Stuffed Bitter Melon)

I am a ‘Karela’ fan. Give me Karela/Bitter Melon in any form I. ..will. ..enjoy… it. I believe if you ‘debitter’ the Karela, you insult Karela because this bitterness only is its identity……afterall it is called bitter melon.
In this recipe unpeeled bitter melon is stuffed with spices and then cooked on slow fire.
Karela becomes more tasty when it is eaten next day of its preparation. Try it!!!


  • Wash the karelas. Cut off top and tail if Karelas are not tender.
  • Slit them through lengthwise .

  • Carefully, use a spoon to scoop out the pith. Discard the pith.
  • If pith is hard to remove then boil enough water in a pan and add one tsp of salt to water. Dip the karelas in this water and off the flame. Cover the pan and leave karela in this hot water for ten minutes. Remove karela from water,wash in cold water, cool and take out the pith with seeds.

  • In a heavy bottom pan heat 2 tbsp oil, fry onion and ginger garlic paste. Add all dry spices along with fennel seeds and little salt. Add 2 tbsp of water and fry well. Remove this masala in a plate and cool it.
  • Stuff karelas with this mixture.

  • Heat remaining oil in the same heavy bottom pan and add stuffed karelas. Cover the pan and let the karelas cook on slow heat till the karelas are done.

  • Stir occasionally but do it gently so as to avoid knocking the filling out of the karelas. Remember do not add water while cooking on slow fire. When done take out in a dish.
  • Serve with Roti and Dal of your choice.

Note: The Karela should be green and tender since it becomes more bitter as it ripens.

Tip: A traditional way to ‘debitter’ the karela is, to peel off the skin and cut into thin slices or slitted. It is salted and exposed to direct sunlight for few hours to reduce its bitterness. After few hours, it's salty, bitter water is reduced by squeezing out the excess by hand. Then it's rinsed with water a few times.

Do You Know?
Bitter Melon, also known as Karela or Momordica charantia is a herb that helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps body functions operating normally. It contains Gurmarin, a polypeptide considered to be similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli.
The fruits have long been used in India as a folk remedy for Diabetes mellitus.

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