Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Bhara Karela (Stuffed Bittergourd)

Bhara Karela (Stuffed Bittergourd)
Bitter gourd (Karela) belongs to the family of squash, cucumber melon. While rest are loved Bitter gourd is not well received by many, but Bitter gourd is a rich source of nutrients and minerals, while being very low on calories. It can be introduced in diet by making savories.
Bitter gourd comes in many varieties, ranging from dark green-light green-white, and from small variety 3-5 inches -long variety which can measure up to 10-12 inches also.
Stuffed bitter gourd can is made in variety of ways in India. In Kumaon it is primarily stuffed with potatoes, northern, and central India mostly fennel seed and onion are the main ingredients of stuffing, where as in Western part mostly coconut, onion and garlic are the main ingredients. I picked up all these flavors and made the best combination to make succulent and yummy stuffed bitter gourd. Bitter gourd stuffed san potato can last for weeks together in fridge and even if not stored in fridge it lasts for a week minimum. The best choice for stuffed bitter gourd is to get small sized, dark green bitter gourd. It should be soft from inside (Without hard, ripe seeds). If small variety of bitter gourd is not available then one can make it with long variety of bitter gourd as shown in the blog. (I could not lay my hand on small variety so used the soft but longer ones). The taste remains almost the same but the visual treat and ease of making is in small variety.

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 10-15 min. for stuffing and 30 min. for cooking after stuffing
Nutritional value: (Approx.)
Calories: 45 Kcal
Carb: 340g
Proteins: 5g
Cholesterol: 0g
Fibers: 15 g
Sodium: 10mg
Potassium: 3000mg
Calcium: 45mg
Iron: 50mg,
Rich in micro nutrients: copper, magnesium, manganese.
Rich in Vitamin A, B2-B12, C,
The above values are approximate values for the stuffed bitter gourd prepared from 250 gm of raw bitter gourd.

Ingredients Required For Making Stuffed Bitter Gourd (Bhara Karela):
  • 250 gm. Bitter gourd
  • 100-150 gm Potatoes
  • 250-300 gm. Onion
  • 10-12 Cloves of Garlic
  • 4-5 cm. Ginger piece
  • 2-3 Green chilies
  • ½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 5-6 Sprigs of fresh Green Coriander
  • 2 Teaspoons Dry mango powder (Amchur)
  • 2 Teaspoons Coriander seed powder (Dhaniya powder)
  • 1 Teaspoon Fennel powder (saunf powder)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon roasted Cumin seed powder (Jeera powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • 50 gm. Ground nuts (Moongfali)
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 10-15 ml. Cooking oil of your choice (I use mustard oil)

Direction For Making Stuffed Bitter Gourd:
  • Roast Groundnuts, remove the peels and grind them coarsely. Keep aside for later use.
  • Boil potatoes and mash them to small pieces after peeling them. Keep away for later use.
Boiled and Peeled Potatoes
  • Scrape the outer rough surface of bitter gourd and slit them lengthwise on one side only.
  • Pry the slit gourds carefully and remove the inner core leaving the empty shell of gourd.
  • If the gourds are of long variety as shown in this article then cut them to 3-4 inches pieces before slitting them.
Prepped Bitter Gourd
  • In a container take 1lt. water, add 2 teaspoon salt and boil it. Once the water comes to boil put cleaned bitter gourd in boiling water cover the container and let it simmer for 1-2 min. Remove the container from heat and let the contents cool. Do not boil too much else the gourds will become very soft mushy. They should be firm yet on softer side.
Cleaned Bitter Gourd in Boiled water
Blanched Bittergourd
  • Drain water from gourds using sieve. Let all water drip form them by allowing them to rest on sieve.
  • Chop onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, Coriander sprigs finely. Garkic and ginger can be grated.
Chopped Ingredients For Stuffing
  • In a wok take 2 ml. cooking oil and heat it. When the oil is hot enough add chopped 
    • Garlic
    • Ginger 
    • Green chilies and cook on low flame for a minutes or so. 
Green Chillies, Ginger, Garlic cooking in oil
  • Add chopped onions and cook on low heat till they  become transparent. (Before taking golden brown color they will become transparent).
Onion cooked to trasparent state

  • Add
    • Salt
    • Turmeric powder
    • Cumin seed powder
    • Coriander seed powder (Dhaniya powder)
    • Fennel seed powder (saunf powder)
    • Chili Powder
    • Dry Mango powder (Amchur)
  • Stir to mix nicely and cook on low flame for 1-2 minutes with constant stiring. 
Salt and other spices added
  • Add coarsely ground Groundnut and coarsely mashed boiles potatoes. Mix well. Cook for a minute with constant stiring.
  • Add sugar, give a nice stir, switch off the heat and cover the wok. Let the sutffing mixture cool.
Mashed Potatoes and Peanut Powder Added
Stuffing For Bittergourd
  • When the cooked mixture is cooled add chopped coriander. Mix nicely for even distribution of chopped coriander.

Seasoned with Coriander leafs
  • Fill the stuffing in the gourds. Press the stuffing in gourds till no more can be filled.
  • Wrap them by thread so that the stuffing does not come out during cooking. Coat them with little oil using fingers or brush.
Stuffed and wrapped Bittergourd
  • These stuffed gourds can be made in minimum oil using non-stick pan (as it is shown in this article) or if minimum oil using non-stick pan (as it is shown in this article).
  • Take 2ml. cooking oil a non-stick pan and heat. When the oil is hot enough place the stuffed gourds in it and lower the heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes without disturbing.
Bittergourd cooking in less oil
  • The color of gourds will have changed by now. Turn them over, sprinkle few drops of oil and cook till the color on the side it is cooking becomes golden brown or little darker.
After 5 min
  • Keep turning the gourds till from most sides it is cooked (The gourd will become thinner and darker).
Cooked Stuffed Bittergourd 
  • Remove the cooked stuffed gourds from pan, let them cool. Remove the thread. Some of the filling attached to thread will be on charred side, remove that along with the thread. Serve hot with roti/parantha. Absolute yum.
Stuffed Bittergourd (Bhara Karela)
  • Bitter gourd is blanched not cooked in boiling water. Blanching will remove some bitterness along with making it softer.
  • Wrapping preferably should be done by thicker thread so that removing it after cooking becomes easier.
  • If bitter gourd is not being cooked in non-stick pan then requirement of oil will become more.

Suggested Variations:
  • If the gourds are very soft from inside then:
  • Potatoes can be replaced by extra fennel seed powder, coriander powder.
  • Fresh grated coconut can be addedinstead of potato and ground nut ppowder.


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