Bharwa Karela – Stuffed Bittergourd

written by Sarah Michael Griffin December 5, 2017

This is one of my attempts to try out Punjabi Dish just for my Sikh boyfriend. Every single time I think of him, my curiosity  towards his culture increases. The more I wanted to try foods from his side. I even asked him on how to cook “Karela”  Punjabi version: His reply, to slit the bitter gourd at one side and scrap out the innards, and then deep fry it, then stuffed with a mixture made out of the scrapped bitter gourd, onion , spices and yogurt.  It is well known that bitter gourds are unpopular among the young and old, and this one dish would change their mind about it.

I was inspired by Sanjay Thumma – The VahRehVah-Vah Chef, link to his recipe:

Always my go to recipes and videos on Indian Cuisines. He makes it easy to understand and easy to cook.  As his saying always goes “VahrehVah is all about inspiring others to cook” which he truly did in my case. I followed his recipe in the first version (the featured picture: psst: the tomato and curry leaves garnishing were just deco idea), and my own one -the bottom picture with a tablespoon of cream cheese and garnished it with some paneer. I must say, that I got addicted to it. Vah Chef’s version balances the taste very well, that the bitterness is mellowed and it taste divine!

The Cream Cheese Version: Garnished with Paneer, and in this version I did not coat the bitter gourd with rice flour before frying

How To Make Bharwa Karela

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Serves: 2-3 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 4-6 Medium sized Bitter Gourd ( slit length-wise, and seeded and salted)- ( keep the seeds if you like)
  • 2 Big Red Onions - chopped
  • 1 inch Ginger -pounded
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves -pounded
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seed
  • 1 tsp Amchoor Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Besan Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Yogurt or Cream Cheese or Paneer
  • few sprigs of Coriander ( chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar or Jaggery
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Oil For Deep Frying
  • 2 tbsp Oil for sauteing


Slited and Salted Bitter Gourd, rinsed thoroughly with water later.


  1. Wash thoroughly the salted bitter gourds under running water.
  2. Remove slightly the outer bumps of the bitter gourd to make the surface of it even
  3. Chop the bumps and keep aside.
  4. Pat dry, then coat them with the rice flour lightly till all its surfaced is fully covered. This done to ensure the crispiness of the bitter gourd.
  5. Heat the oil for deep frying, and fry the floured bitter gourd till its crispy and golden.
  6. Set aside on a paper towel, careful as  not to cover them, because the vapour will get the bitter gourd soggy.
  7. Heat up the oil for sauteing, and add the onions- fry till it caramelizes, Then add the cumin seeds, and the ginger and garlic paste, fry them till it browns lightly.
  8. Next, add in the chopped bitter gourds or if you like, the chopped up bitter gourd seeds. Fry it up a little for 3 minutes.
  9. Add in the spice powders and besan flour. Fry them till even.
  10. Add in the yogurt or any of your preferred cheeses.
  11. Mix well and add the chopped coriander.
  12. Season up with salt and sugar, and mix well.
  13. Remove the cooked stuffings aside.
  14. Let it cool before stuffing it into the bitter gourd. ( On another note, you can do the stuffings first then deep fry the bitter gourd, this is where most ofthe recipe calls for tying up the stuffed bitter gourd with strings before frying them to keep the stuffings intact)

    From Left Clockwise: Bitter Gourd/Karela/Bitter Melon, Chopped Onions, Few Sprigs of Coriander, Scrapped Bitter Gourd, Pounded Ginger and Garlic. On the White Plate Clockwise: Cumin Seed, Chili Powder, Besan Flour, Amchoor


Remember guys to Cook, Snap the picture of the finished product of the recipe that you tried from us, and post it in Instagram with the hashtag #noshandgrub. We will Re-Post it and give you a shout out!

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