Bitter, but better

Karela~Bittergourd, a not very favorite vegetable of kids as well as most adults, is full of medicinal properties. People, who have a liking and an acquired taste for bittergourd are doing themselves a great favor. Its peel, seeds and flesh, every part of this vegetable is laden with health benefits. This vegetable has remedial properties for illnesses such as Diabetes, Asthama, Hypertension, GI disorders, Urinary disorders, HIV/AIDS, and many other ailments by lowering blood sugar levels, helping the liver function better, and has a wonderful healing effect on blood. The smaller the size of the vegatable, the more nutritous it is.

Bittergourd ~ Karela

Fortunately, my family enjoys bittergourd, and I am always delighted to get this humble vegetable home whenever they appear in the market here. Today I prepared these two dishes for our meal and we all enjoyed it.

Usually, I shallow fry bittergourd chips, but today I tried them in a healthier way, Indira inspired, and they were perfectly good.

Bitter-Gourd/Karela Chips


Bitter gourd/Karela – 2, medium sized, yound and tender
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp

Bittergourd cut into thin chips

Bittergourd chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350°C.
2.Wash the bittergourd well in several changes of water. Pat dry with paper towel.
3. Using a mandoline or hand slicer, slice the bittergourd into thin chips. There is no need to peel the skin.
4. In a mixing bowl, add the bittergourd and the rest of the ingredients. Gently toss the bowl to mix well.
5. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place the raw bittrgourd chips in a single layer on the baking sheet and place it in the middle rack in the preheated oven for 10 mins at 350°C. Later, turn the setting on broil for 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye, and remove the baking sheet as soon as the chips are done. Serve immediately.

Suggested Accompaniments: Bittergourd chips can be enjoyed on the side along with any of your meals.


I love to cook Bittergourd along with Qimah. Bittergourd when cooked with minced meat brings out the flavor of the meat and and in turn its bitterness is amazingly neutralized by it.

Qimah bhare Karelay – Bitter-Gourd stuffed with Minced meat


Bitter gourd – 4, medium sized, young and tender
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Yellow Onion – 1, medium sized
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Minced lamb/Sheep/Veal meat~Qaaeema – 1 pound
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Coconut cream – 1 tbsp
Canned Tomato paste – 3 tbsp
Tamarind concentrate – 1 tbsp
Chopped cilantro and mint – to garnish

Bittergourd, lightly scraped, stuffed and tied close with twine


1. Wash and pat dry the bittergourd. Lightly scrape the skin using a knife (I scraped it for even searing). Cut off just the tips of the bittergourd with your kitchen shears.
2. With the tip of a knife, carefully open the bitter gourd to form into a boat shape, and remove the seeds from inside without tearing/damaging the bittergourd. Chop the bittergourd seeds roughly and keep the seeds and bittergourd aside in individual bowls.
3. In a pan at medium high heat, pour 1 tbsp oil and as soon as it warms up, add sliced onions and stir fry until golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the washed minced meat. Mix well and add the red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Let cook uncovered until the meat is browned and the moisture has dried up. Keep stirring the meat every once in a while. Remove from heat once done.
4. Stuff the bittergourd with the prepared Qimaha and tie to close the bittergourds using a kitchen twine.
5. In a pan at medum high heat, pour remaining oil and as soon as it warms up, add the stuffed tied bittergourd. Stir fry them until lightly seared on all sides. Remove the bittergourds into a platter using a strainer and keep aside.
6. Add the left over prepared qimah into the same pan, and add the chopped bittergourd seeds, cumin and coriander powders, tomato paste, coconut cream and tamarind concentrate. Mix well and pour in 1 1/2 cup water. Close the lid and let it come to a boil. Lower the meat to medium and add the stuffed bittergourd. Close the lid and let cook for 10 minutes. Later, gently give a good stir and again close the lid and let cook for 10 minutes, until the qimah is fairly dry and the bittergourd is well cooked.
7. To serve, discard the kitchen twine and cut each bittergourd into two using a knife. Garnish with chopped cilantro and mint and serve immediately.

Qimah bhare Karelay – Bitter-Gourd stuffed with Minced meat

Suggested Accompaniments: Enjoy Qimah bhare Karelay along with Khatti dal and a dry vegetable curry on the side for a delicious meal.


13 thoughts on “Bitter, but better

  1. I had karela chips in Malaysia at a tamil restaurant and it was delicious. they served it wid dal and i thought they ve deep fried bitter gourd!

  2. Great idea of baking the bitter gourd chips..I follow a similar recipe,only diff,I dont add haldi,I add hing instead,rest all the same.Though I deep fry to try your method..:)

  3. This is a whole new recipe for me,Mona.I’ve some karela in fridge,will try this soon.Hopefully hubby dear will also eat this way 😛
    For the event I do have a post coming up at the end of week,Inshallah.We are moving to Columbus next week,so busy with lots of things.

  4. Hey new to ur space though…bitter better one i liked it nd have the same one in my blog too….but in a different way…nd tht m a veggie cannot try the kheema dish 🙁

  5. Its very delicious i always makes those!! them yummy Qaeema bhare Karelay…it smells so good and tastes even better. Some people boil n make it its no use of eating karela if u boil .If u eat without boiling then it is good . I make th karela chip same but i fry in little oil .I love the crunch they have even after they are cooked…

  6. Mona,
    Thanks for sharing Karela receipe.I scrape the skin,because i find it too bitter.i soak karela overnight in salt water and then, wash it well,then add it to mutton or qeema.
    I will try it without soaking it in salt.

  7. wow…my mom makes those!! them yummy Qaeema bhare Karelay…it smells so good and tastes even better. My mom would cook every part of the karela…even the seeds, i love the crunch they have even after they are cooked…and whenever she would cook the qeema bhare karelay, she would fry little pakodhis out of the skin she would scrape off the karela before cooking them…the karela skin pakodhis taste delicious with tea…yum!

    thank you Mona for sharing this…wish i could buy some karelas where i live…

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