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. 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.
- 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.