Kauvery Hospital | Patient Newsletters | June Recipe

Stuffed Bitter Gourd

Bitter Gourd, Bitter Melon or Bitter Squash all refer to the same fruit, Karela or Pavakka. This fruit / vegetable grows mostly only in tropical climates and hence is widely found in Asia, Jamaica, South America, the Caribbean and Africa. True to its name Bitter Gourd is bitter but its myriad health benefits make it one of the most valued medical plants. Chinese, Indians and Native Americans have used this fruit both for cooking purposes and to treat various health disorders.

Pavakka or Bitter Gourd is known to lower blood sugar and there is also some recent research on this. It was used by American natives to prevent measles and hepatitis, to rid the body of worms and parasites, and in its topical form used to heal wounds. It is said to aid in fighting against infections and helps build immunity. It is also reported to help removes deep skin blemishes and disorders such as acne, scabies, psoriasis, itching, ringworm, and fungal diseases. Research also shows that it lowers bad cholesterol and prevents cancer cells from multiplying.

Nutritional and Caloric Value

It is rich in Vitamin A, B1, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorous and copper. It is also a rich source for dietary fiber, anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients. Therefore adding this fruit / vegetable to your diet every week, will do you a world of good.

Eat this fruit prepared using the recipe given below and you will love the flavours that burst out, leaving you craving for more.

Prep Time: 30 minutes; cooking time: 25 minutes: Serves: 5


•  Bitter Gourd or Pavakai (smaller the size the better) 5
•  Onion 3 large
•  Dry red chillies 5
•  Dry coconut powder 2 tablespoons
•  Turmeric powder a pinch
•  Sesame seeds 1 tablespoon
•  Besan Flour or Chana Dal 1 tablespoon
•  Cumin seeds ½ tsp
•  Peanuts 1 tablespoon
•  Ginger and Garlic paste ½ tsp
•  Tamarind (size of a lemon)
•  Fresh coriander leaves ¼ cup (chopped)
•  Oil
•  Salt to taste


1. Wash the bitter gourd and trim off the ends of the gourds.

2. Lightly scrape off the spiny texture of the peel and slit length-wise. Remove the seeds and pith.

3. Place the pith and seeds extracted from the bitter gourd in a shallow dish, sprinkle salt to taste and keep aside for 5 minutes.

4. Place a shallow pan or kadai on the stove and turn on the flame to medium heat. Heat the oil in the pan and place the slit bitter gourd in the pan / kadai.

5. Fry the bitter gourd until they are cooked. Ensure to turn the bitter gourd every minute or two, while frying it. Cover the pan while frying the bitter gourd.

6. To prepare the stuffing - heat 1 teaspoon of oil in another pan and add the red chillies, beasan flour or chana dal, coconut powder and the ginger / garlic paste. Sauté to remove the raw aromas, remove from fire, cool and then grind all of these ingredients and keep aside.

7. To the pan add 2 teaspoons oil, add the finely diced onions and fry, until it turns golden brown in color. Next add in the ground ingredients, salt to taste, and turmeric powder and blend in well, sautéing for a minute or two. Turn off the stove.

8. Next stuff the slit, fried bitter gourd with this mixture.

9. Lightly tie the bitter gourd with a string, after stuffing it. Then add 3 teaspoons of oil in a pan and once again fry the stuffed bitter gourd for about 6 minutes, until it is evenly brown on all sides. Add oil if needed.

10. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

11. Serve hot with rice preparations (such as lime rice) or with rice and yellow dal or with curd rice.


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