Punjabi bharwan karela recipe – a mouth watering dish that is wonderfully spicy and delicious. A healthy, vegetarian and gluten-free recipe!!
Karela also referred to as bitter gourd, bitter melon or bitter squash is the most disliked vegetable. Back in college, we did a survey of the least liked vegetable and karela made it to the top followed by few eggplant haters, petha came in next (butternut squash) and bhindi (okra) being the last. Karela (bitter gourd) made it to the “least favorite” list for two reasons. First, because of its looks, many people find the rugged surface vegetable really ugly (the younger me too had the same opinion). Secondly, its tastes really bitter. I can’t imagine eating it in its raw state.
Perhaps, people hate karela (bitter gourd) because they haven’t tried the right way of making it. My mom always used to make Punjabi bharwan karela recipe (stuffed bitter gourd) for us, and now I’ve taken it over. Her signature karela was “besan ka karela” (gram flour bitter gourd dumplings). A yum and delicious way to eat scrapes of karela. You just might be surprised how delicious karela scrapes/karela can taste if they’re prepared right. Follow a step by step tutorial below.
Besides the bitterness part, karela has many health benefits.
- It purifies blood.
- It’s juice is good for diabetic people. My dad used to drink 1/2 a cup of karela juice empty stomach every morning.
- Rich source of Vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium.
- Great source of dietary fiber and potassium.
So many goodness in one single vegetable. Let’s see how to prepare it in a delicious way. First let’s focus on the first step – how to reduce it’s bitterness? Here are a few tips to refuce bitterness from bitter gourd.
- Scrape the rugged surface until its smooth. Scrape, don’t peel the karela.
- Make a slit on one side of karela and remove the seeds if they are too big.
- Rub each karela with sour curd and set it aside for 30 – 40 minutes. My mom used to rub lots of salt on karela to reduce its bitterness. You can use either one of them. Use double the quantity of salt or curd.
- After the desired time, wash karela under cold running water and remove all the salt or curd. Squeeze out the excess water and set them aside. Karela (bitter gourd) is ready for cooking.
Dry roast karelas in a hot pan. Roasting karelas (bitter gourd) brings out their flavor and makes the dish all the more delicious! Prepare a spice mix to stuff the karelas. For extra crunchiness, my mom added caramelized onions and potato fries to this dish. To finish the dish, combine caramelized onions, cooked potato slices, karela, spice mix and besan ka karela. Cover and let it simmer for couple of minutes and you are all set.
Pair Punjabi bharwan karela recipe with your favorite dal and enjoy!! If karela is your least favorite vegetable, I ask you to at least give it a chance and sometimes using different methods to cook a vegetable can result into mouthwatering dishes.
Punjabi Bharwan Karela Recipe
INGREDIENTS FOR KARELA
- 250 grams Karela (bitter gourd)
- 1/4 cup Beaten Curd (yogurt)
- 2-3 tablespoon Oil
KARELA - SPICE MIX
INGREDIENTS FOR BESAN KARELA
- 1 cup Scrapes of karela
- 3/4 cup Besan (Chickpea flour) (add more if needed)
- 3 tablespoon Finely Chopped onions
- 1/2 teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder (adjust accordingly)
- 3/4 teaspoon Roasted cumin seeds , crushed
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (sukha dhaniya)
- Salt to taste
- Oil for Frying
- 1 medium Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium Potatoes, cut lengthwise
- Wash bitter gourd. Trim the ends and scrape the rugged surface until its smooth. Scrape, don't peel the karela. Save the scrapes.
- Make a slit on one side of karela and remove the seeds if they are too big. Rub each karela with sour curd and set it aside for 30 - 40 minutes. My mom used to rub lots of salt on karela to reduce its bitterness. You can use either one of them.
- Assemble ingredients to make karela pakodas out of the scrapes.
- Combine everything in a bowl.
- Add besan and curd. Instead of curd you can water to assemble karela.
- Mix and shape them like logs.
- Deep fry or pan cook them. Set it aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add karelas (bitter gourd).
- Cook until light brown in color. Remove from flame and allow it to cool completely.
- Assemble spices for karelas (butter gourd). Combine them together in a small bowl.
- Rub the inside of each karela with this spice mix. Set them aside.
- Add sliced potatoes to a pan and cook until lightly brown. Remove and set it aside.
- To the same pan add sliced onions and cook until soft.
- Combine stuffed karelas, potatoes and leftover spice mix to the pan. Mix it well.
- Cover and let it cook until potatoes and karelas are thoroughly cooked.
- Add the besan karelas to the pan.
- Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes on a low flame. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Pair it with warm rotis and your favorite dal to make a delicious meal tonight.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided below is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. Please refer to a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionists if you have any health issues.