Punjabi Bharwa Karela (Stuffed Bitter Gourd)

  • on January 28, 2021
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Punjabi Bharwa Karela


  • 6 bitter gourds (karela)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds (crushed)
  • 1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 teaspoon Mustard Oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 3 cm Ginger (finely chopped)
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • 2 Chillies (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Amchoor
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds (crushed)


  1. Prepare the karela by washing and drying them then using a peeler peel off the bumpy green skin a little and keep in a bowl.Bitter Gourd
  2. Slice open the tummy of each karela without going all the way through and scrape out the inside including the seeds using a teaspoon into the same bowl. This will make the stuffing.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a cast iron pan and add the cumin seeds, as these sizzle and become fragrant stir in the onions and fry until translucent
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and then the stuffing. Fry until the onions are golden brown (5-10 minutes). This is very important as the seeds will crisp up.
  5. Once browned stir in the amchoor, fennel, coriander, chilli, salt and turmeric. Fry for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
  6. Once cooled use a spoon or your hands and stuff the skins with equal amounts of the mixture. Hands are better as you will also cover the outside with the juices and oils from the stuffing as well.
  7. Press the stuffing into the skins. You can use a little cotton thread to wrap around each one to help hold their stuffing in.
  8. To cook the Karela you can either fry them or bake them. So either place the karela back into the pan with a little oil and cook them evenly until they turn a golden brown colour all over. Or place onto an oven tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes until soft and browned all over. These are delicious served with a red lentil dhal, plain yoghurt and roti. Once cooked the karela will keep refrigerated for up to a week.




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