Baked Stuffed Karela – Bitter Melon Recipe

15 Aug

Bitter Melon is not a common vegetable at the grocery stores in the US but is a very popular vegetable among the Asians and for its health benefits. In Goa one of the popular recipes I grew up with is stuffed karela made with prawns/shrimps and goan recheado masala. The stuffing is first cooked and then stuffed melon is shallow fried in oil. Β My recipe is vegetarian with 2 variations from the original recipe, I have skipped the prawns and I baked the karela instead of shallow frying.


Since karela is a bitter melon to rid the bitterness it requires 3 things that I think help cut the bitterness. First applying a generous amount of salt to each melon inside out and let stand for 30-45 minutes to drain out the bitter liquid. Second it need an acid and finally a little sweetness. Indian’s believe in many health benefits of karela/bitter melon you can check out more on my earlier blog post of Prawns and Bitter melon Fry by clicking here.


Serving Size: 12 small karela – 4″ size


12 small karela/ bitter melons

2 medium onion chopped fine

1 medium tomato chopped fine

6 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1″ ginger cut fine

3 tbsp of goan recheado masala

1 tsp of sugar

1 bunch of fine chopped cilantro

2 tbsp of garam masala

salt to taste


Split each karela and scoop out the seeds apply generous salt to each one inside-out and keep aside for 30-45 minutes. It will let out some bitter liquid. Wipe each dry with a paper towel.

In a pan heat oil, saute the onions till soft. Next add the ginger garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes along with the recheado masala. Finally add the sugar and salt to season mix well.

Take of heat and add the chopped cilantro. Keep aside to cool.

To the dried karela apply a little oil and garam masala inside and out and stuff each one with the recheado filling.

Bake at 415F for 35 minutes till the karela is soft.





For Variations

  • Β Add prawns/shrimps or paneer to the stuffing and instead of baking shallow fry the karela till they soften on the outside about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Some recipes in Indian Cuisine use ground beef or chicken and potatoes.

Do note this recipe is spicy. You can make your own stuffing. My recommendation would be to add sour and sweet taste to cut the bitterness.


66 Responses to “Baked Stuffed Karela – Bitter Melon Recipe”

  1. Vonnie August 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    Must you saw “prawns”?! It makes my mouth water! Looks good

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

      Lol! thanks Vonnie. I too am in the same group πŸ™‚

  2. Alok Singhal August 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    It is really good for health, a great escape from the ‘sweet’ stuff!

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

      Thank You Alok. It sure is πŸ™‚

  3. bnanno August 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    I LOVE LOVE Karele, and have made new Goan friends in the hols – so going to try this intriguing recipe as soon as I can get hold of some karele (not easy but I shall persevere)!

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

      That is so awesome. I am happy to hear that πŸ™‚

  4. Linda @thedutchbaker August 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Looks fabulous! Xx

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

      Thank You Linda so much πŸ™‚

  5. Cook with Smile.. August 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    Looks great..

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

      Thank You so much πŸ™‚

  6. michnavs August 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Wow..i am an asian and this vegetable literally just grows anywhere here and i never thought it could look this delicious..i should try this

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

      Thank You so much. I too became a fan of it only the last couple years πŸ™‚

  7. Mr. Militant Negro August 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negroβ„’.

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

      Thank You so much for the re-blog πŸ™‚

  8. Plectrumm August 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm #


  9. dishdessert August 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    I liked your recipe, looks delicious!!!

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

      Thank You so much for your kind words πŸ™‚

  10. Aruna August 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Looks so delicious….. πŸ™‚

    • Nandini August 15, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

      Thank You so much Aruna πŸ™‚

  11. Love Served Daily August 15, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    I love that you baked them. Great idea

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks much Ritu…I was trying to reduce the amount of oil used and make it healthy πŸ™‚

  12. Harbans August 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

    Delicious and mouth watering indeed. :))

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

      Thank You so much πŸ™‚

  13. swapnakarthik August 16, 2016 at 12:55 am #

    Looks so delicious….

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      Thank You so much Swapna πŸ™‚

  14. Debbie Spivey August 16, 2016 at 4:18 am #

    I’ve never had or even seen karela. Now I know exactly what to do with them if I ever see them! πŸ™‚

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Thank You so much Debbie. I hope you will give them a try someday. If you ever visit an Asian market look out for them πŸ™‚

  15. Hungry Breton (Franck) August 16, 2016 at 5:31 am #

    Very interesting! A new one for me! Thank you! πŸ˜‰

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

      I am glad to know it is something new for you πŸ™‚

  16. Little Sunshine August 16, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    That recipe sounds amazing! I should give it a try once IΒ΄m home cooking again:-) Thanks for sharing! XO

    • Nandini August 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      I am happy to know that you will want to give this a try. Thank You πŸ™‚

  17. Botendaddy August 16, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Nandini rocks!

    Peace be the Botendaddy

  18. Laura @ Feast Wisely August 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Interesting Nandini as I’ve never come across bitter melons – will be keeping my eyes out for them. Do they ever come under another name?

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      I am not too sure Laura but in Indian stores it would be “karela”,” amargo” in spanish markets and in chinese markets maybe “Fugwa” it could have a different name. I will check it out next time I go to the store.

      • Laura @ Feast Wisely August 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

        Thanks Nandini that’s helpful so I can keep me eye out for it.

        • Nandini August 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

          You are welcome Laura anytime πŸ™‚

  19. Stan The Man August 17, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    Hi Nandini!

    I was waiting for Your recipe at the weekend, but when there was no mail from You I told My spouse about it. But My cheeky spouse said that maybe Nandini has run out of recipes. And I said that cannot be true, Nandini has got many recipes ‘UP HER SLEEVES’. And I was right Your email came on 15th OF AUG. Anyway I am not a very big fan of ‘KARELA, I don’t like the BITTERNESS, But I am given to understand that it has got ‘MEDICINAL VALUES’. I love Your stuffing of PRAWNS/SHRIMPS. We will give Your recipe a go very soon.Your presentation looks ‘AMAZING’, Thanks for sharing Your ‘FABULOUS’ recipes with Us.

    Now You take care,

    With My kindest best regards

    Stan & Linda

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      Thank You Mr Stan….apologizes for the delay in post. I have been enjoying the summer break with my kids a little too much πŸ™‚ also Mrs Stan may have a good point there…. I have to research more of the Goan recipes as I think I am almost closing in on all the popular ones πŸ™‚ . You both have a lovely week.

  20. Loretta August 18, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    I remember the bitter melon vegetable oh so well. Although I can’t remember how Mum used to prepare them. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten it, I always see it in the Indian Grocery stores, but have never bought it. I imagine with that lovely rechado masala, these were a treat!

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      Yes Loretta it totally masks the bitter taste. I would recommend for you to try it with prawns before you do a vegetarian version as it will be more flavorful for a Goan πŸ™‚

  21. nadaskitchendiary August 18, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    I love the sound of this! There is an Asian food store close to my work where I have seen these. I always wondered how to use the vegetable and think I will give this recipe a try! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Thank You Nada, I would definitely encourage you to give it a try πŸ™‚

  22. EatingWellNYC / The Mew Life August 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Can’t say I’m a big bitter melon fan but this looks good

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

      I wouldn’t blame you for that πŸ™‚ It is an acquired taste. I would encourage you to give it a try atleast once πŸ™‚

  23. thetckdiaires August 21, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    This looks SO GOOD!! I remember, growing up, my parents would try to pay me to eat Karela haha! But if it was made like this, I would gladly eat it!

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      Ha!Ha!…lucky you to get paid πŸ™‚

  24. stateeats August 23, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    I have never seen this fruit but you recipe looks divine – Kat

    • Nandini August 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

      Thank You Kat πŸ™‚

  25. Vanessa Kempf, Real Estate Advisor August 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    Beautiful blog!

    • Nandini August 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      Thank You Vanessa πŸ™‚

  26. Elaine September 1, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    This looks so good ugh I’m craving it now! Thank you for liking my post…I’ll be sure to read more of your blog! It’s amazing! :))

    • Nandini September 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Thank You so much Elaine, appreciate your kind words πŸ™‚

  27. Bilal September 2, 2016 at 12:47 am #

    some beautiful pictures πŸ™‚

    • Nandini September 13, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

      Thank You so much Bilal πŸ™‚

  28. sabitha September 6, 2016 at 7:02 am #

    Looks delicious πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Nandini September 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

      Thank you Sabitha πŸ™‚

  29. Steve September 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    This is wonderful….

    • Nandini September 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      Thank You πŸ™‚

  30. peachesgourmet October 8, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for liking my post, pretty Nandini, I didn’t know that we can stuff and bake Karela! Thanks to your post, now I know.

    • Nandini October 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

      Thank You so much. I am happy to hear that my post was helpful πŸ™‚

  31. maazyakavita November 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    Nice ” i like karela” good for health

    • Nandini November 30, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

      Yes it sure is πŸ™‚

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