Pakistan – Bharay Karelay (Stuffed Bitter Gourd)

by Arbaz Khan

What is Karela (bitter gourd)

Karela or bitter gourd/bitter melon is a unique fruit or vegetable which is used for cooking and also for the treatment of some diseases. Some people call it fruit and some people call it vegetables. Karela is considered the most bitter fruit or vegetable of all fruits or vegetables. Sometimes its juice helps to get rid of some diseases like skin diseases that make it special. Asia is a subcontinent where most bitter gourds are eaten. The exterior part of karela is very rough while its interior contains seeds. Karela is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Karelay (bitter gourds) are made with

  • Chicken
  • Mutton
  • Beef
  • Potatoes
  • Carrot
  • Sometimes bitter gourds only


Bitter gourds are originated in Indian subcontinent in 14th century but China introduced it. Bitter gourds are grown widely in India, Pakistan, China and Malaysia etc.

Introduction to cooked bitter gourds

They have a bitter taste when they are uncooked but when they are cooked their taste changes. There is only one ingredient that is used to change its taste which is salt. Usually, bitter gourd is soaked with salty water and then pressed hard to remove water. There are many recipes of bitter gourd like bitter gourd stuffed with mince, bitter gourd stuffed with vegetables, and bitter gourd with chicken. The recipe for tasty stuffed bitter gourd in following:


  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 and half tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
  • Half teaspoon of black mustard seeds
  • 8 red chilies
  • Salt as requires
  • Half kilogram of bitter gourd
  • Half teaspoon of nigella seeds
  • Half teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 5 tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Half cup of grated raw mango
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 3 chopped green chilies
  • 2 and half tablespoons of garlic and ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander


  • Take a frying pan and add fennel, coriander, cumin, nigella and black mustard seeds and red chilies and fry them without oil until you smell its odour.
  • After frying, take out these seeds in bowl, set aside and let cool.
  • Take a spices mixer and add all these cooled seeds in it and grind them.
  • After grinding, take out the grinned seeds in a bowl and set aside
  • Now take your bitter gourds, peel them and remove all seeds from inside of them.
  • Take a bowl, add peeled gourds and salt and then mix.
  • Take a frying pan and add required amount of mustard oil and heat on medium flame.
  • Grab a peeled bitter gourd and press with your hand until its water removes, then fry in mustard oil on medium flame.
  • Do the same thing with all peeled bitter gourds.
  • Take a wok, add mustard oil in it and heat it.
  • Add sliced onions in oil and fry it.
  • Add fresh coriander, ginger, raw mangoes, garlic and green chilies in mustard oil and mix.
  • Now add salt, turmeric powder and chili powder and again mix.
  • Now take out the stuffing and set aside.
  • Take a bitter gourd and stuff prepared stuffing in it.
  • Similarly, use the same method with other bitter gourds.
  • After stuffing all bitter gourds, take a thread and tie them.
  • In this way stuffing would stay in them.
  • Fry all tied bitter gourds in mustard oil for 10 minutes on medium flame.
  • After frying untie bitter gourds, add some left over gravy on it and serve!


  • Calories: 600
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 50 grams

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Taste: spicy

Cuisine: Asian, Pakistan

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