Bharwan Karela / Stuffed Bittergourd / Karela masaledar is a yummy side dish made with onion, peanut and tart mango flavors fillings inside bitter gourd.
Bitter gourd health benefits :
Please consult a Doctor before treating yourself If raw bitter gourd is taken in large amounts can result in sudden blood sugar drop in patients with insulin spike issues.
- Bitter gourd is a diabetic friendly vegetable having a lot of nutritional value. It is an important vegetable in naturopathy and Ayurveda. It is a hypoglycemic agent and known for its properties in lowering blood sugar levels.
- It is a excellent soluble fiber and reduces constipation.
- Bitter gourd is an alkaline vegetable.
- 1 cup of raw bitter gourd juice meets 93% of Vitamin C intake per day (
If you like bitter gourd then this is the dish for you and if you are on the borderline then I would say jump in because this bharwan karela is not at all bitter.
A gentle reminder :
- Please do not wash away all the nutrients by soaking bitter gourd in salt water.
- Bittergourds are not as bitter as it used to be in olden days. These days u get a lot of hybrid varieties which are milder.
Pick really good tender small bitter gourd without any blemishes or insect bite and rotten spots as we are going to pressure cook the bitter gourds as such. So please double check all sides and corners. If you are unsure of going directly then wash the bitter gourd first make a slit and carefully scoop out the inside and check for worms or insects in the pulp inside. Make sure its clean, the seeds are tender and the pulp is not fibrous. Do not use the seeds and pulp if the seeds have turned ripe and red.
Continue to pressure cook the veggie and use the pulp directly in masala filling as given below.
Ingredients substitutions :
Bittergourd : Hate bitter flavor ? Try with zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant, tomato etc with same filling adjust the cooking timings. Some may not need pressure cooking do keep that in mind.
Peanut : If you are allergic to nuts use chick peas flour inside . (Dry roast it in an empty pan on low flame till it gives out a nutty aroma. Do not let it brown.
80% cooked white rice is a good option. If you consume meat minced cooked meat is also works well in this recipe.
Spice powders :Omit all powders you don't have in hand and use any you generally use for meats. The recipe is forgiving. If thick pastes are added saute until they dry up. But don't add watery sauces or liquids we are trying to keep the filling dry here.
Dry mango powder :
- In Indian spice mixes : Use chat masala , pan puri masala (has minty flavor I love it ). Thick tamarind paste or tomato paste should also work but poor substitute to compete with bitter gourd's sharp flavors
- In International spice mixes: Tajin, Pomegranate molasses. Spice blends like fajita seasoning or taco seasoning can be used with some vinegar mixed.
Other delicious traditional bitter gourd recipes to try from this blog : In tamarind sauce, in yogurt without coconut etc. Pavakka in Malayalam means Bitter gourd.
Bharwan Karela / Stuffed Bittergourd / Karela masaledar
- 6-8 Bitter gourd Use only small tender ones
- 1 cup Peanut Roasted
- 1 large Red Onion chopped
- 1 inch Ginger chopped
- 5 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 tsp Paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Amchur powder Check list above for substitutions
- Salt to taste
- Wash the bitter gourd many times. Cut just the black tip of head. I do not snip off the stalk.Dry roast the peanut till crisp and oil shines on the nuts. Let it cool and powder it to kind of slightly coarse mix.
In the regular pressure cooker
- Mean while pressure cook bitter gourd with 1 cup water and salt until Just 3/4 cooked (for me it takes 8-9 minutes in medium heat no need to make it whistle). I reserve the cooked water from the cooker.(optional)
If using Instant pot / Electric pressure cooker
- Put the bitter gourd on the trivet add 1 cup water to inner pot and switch MANUAL MODE / Pressure cook - 4 minutes . Nautal pressure release 15 to 20 minutes then open. Check for done ness.
- Remove the bitter gourd from the pressure cooker once slightly cool cut a slit carefully (only on top of bitter gourd in such a way that it will lay flat when u fry) as seen in pic. Scoop the pulp and seeds inside from the gourd with a small spoon (smooth blunt spoon) keep aside.
- In a pan heat few tsps of cooking oil add the ginger garlic chopped finely saute it for 2 minutes then add the chopped onion saute until slightly brown. Add the spice powders and continue sauteing until the spice aroma comes out add the inside of the bitter gourd scooped (seeds ,stringy flesh everything is good) saute well until masala coats then sprinkle reserved salted water from pressure cooker (step 1) cover and cook until done.
- Switch off flame and add the peanut powdered to the cooked masala mix well (oh the filling is really really yummy)Fill the cavity of the bitter gourd with the prepared filling ( do not over stuff it will simply fall out and burn while frying) Use only half the filling.
- **PLEASE NOTE : If u cook the bitter gourd entirely in pressure cooker and stuff the filling it can be served as it is to diabetic patients without frying.
Next step onwards its purely optional / only for taste
- Close both the ends of the Karela / Bitter gourd using a cotton twine/ thread tie by running it in a criss – cross pattern so the filling does not fall out. Tie a tight knot.Check video to do without tying .Heat some oil in a pan and and shallow fry it till fully cooked and crisp (not burnt)
- Remove and return to the remaining masala filling pan saute fo few minutes carefully so the outside is also coated well.
- Serve along with buttered chapatti / paratha ,plain dal ,salad and pickle .(REMEMBER - to cut the tread before serving )These masaledar karelas stay upto a week in fridge and can be served as a pickle too.I make Dal palak to go along with bharwan karela or wadi (yogurt curry)
Hope will give Bharwan Karela / Stuffed Bittergourd / Karela masaledar a try and let me know.