Utterly, bitterly delicious

A tasty way of preparing bitter melon

September 15, 2013 11:28 am | Updated June 02, 2016 12:11 pm IST - chennai

Bitter Gourd. Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Bitter Gourd. Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Bitter melon comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The variety that’s typical to India has a narrow shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged teeth and ridges. Coloration is green or white. Some varieties bear miniature fruit, 6-10 cm in length, which may be served as a stuffed vegetable. The juice from the leaves is said to relieve cough and fever and the fruit's antimicrobial properties helps heal wounds. It should be considered an addition in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

A popular vegetable in Indian cooking, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt to offset the bitterness, or used in sabji.

Now, for a recipe.

Stuffed Bitter Melon (Karela)


Karela (Bitter melon): 1 lb, medium-sized

Salt: 1 tsp


Cooking oil: 1 tbsp

Onions: 2

Garlic cloves: 4

Fresh ginger: 1 inch

Cumin powder: 1 tsp

Coriander powder: 1 tsp

Turmeric powder: half tsp

Salt: half tsp or to taste

Amchoor (mango powder): 1 tsp

Water: 1 tablespoon

Cooking /Frying:

Thread to wrap and tie.

Cooking oil: quarter cup

Water: 2 tbsp


Prepare Karela Wash it and scrape the skin with a knife. Make a slit vertically in the middle. Rub the skin and the insides with salt. Set aside for approximately 20 minutes. During this time, you may prepare the stuffing. After 20 minutes, you will see a lot of water as a result of salting. Squeeze out as much water as possible. To control salt, you may rinse, squeeze out water and pat dry.

Stuffing: Chop onions finely. Peel and mince garlic. Peel and chop ginger finely. In a heavy pan, heat cooking oil. Add onions and salt. Sauté till onions are transparent. Add garlic, ginger and stir well. Add cumin, coriander and turmeric powders and amchoor. Sauté for two minutes. Add water and sauté for another two minutes. Turn off heat.

Cooking/Frying: Fill the karela with the stuffing. Wrap each one with thread so that the stuffing does not fall out. In a heavy bottomed pan, put cooking oil, water and stuffed karela. Turn on heat. As soon as the steam starts to build up, cover the pan with the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 4 minutes. Turn over the karela, cover and cook for another 4 minutes.

Chef-in-Charge, Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove

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