Karela (Bitter melon or gourd)

Recipe by kusum gupta
READY IN: 30mins




  • Rinse bitter melon.
  • Trim on both ends as needed and scrape any blemishes or hard skin.
  • Cut into small rounds.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Add karela almost in a single layer; stir and cook until brownish.
  • Reduce the heat if they tend to burn.
  • Add the onions, potatoes and all the seasonings; stir until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Cook slowly on medium low heat, half covered, stirring as needed, until everything is cooked.
  • Variation: To make STUFFED KARELA: Mix all the seasonings for stuffing, substituting 1 teaspoon cumin powder for cumin seeds.
  • Using a paring knife, make a long slit in each karela, from one end to another (leaving two ends and bottom of the pod intact).
  • Keep the slit open with your thumb and use a spoon to fill the opening with the stuffing.
  • Stuff all the karela this way.
  • Cook karela in a wide skillet using 2 tablespoons oil, almost in a single layer, on medium heat.
  • Stir gently so that stuffing does not come out.
  • When half cooked, add the onions.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, cooking slowly, half covered or uncovered, until karela are browned.