Paneer Stuffed Karela: A Nutritious And Sumptuous Dish
Image Credit: Paneer Stuffed Karela

A well-known dish for stuffed bitter gourd comes from NorthIndian cuisine and is called Paneer Stuffed Karela. From a dry sauteed dish to a curried variation, this recipe can be prepared in a variety of ways. This recipe for Paneer Bharwa Karela is in the Punjabi tradition where bitter gourds are stuffed with Indian cottage cheese aka paneer which is crumbled and then cooked with caramelised onions and tangy tomato-based spice mix. The sweetness of the caramelised onions counteracts the bitterness of the bitter gourd. The stuffed Karelas are then shallow-fried again. The resulting dish is an amazing blend of bitter, sweet and tangy flavours. 

Bharwa Karela is a Hindi phrase for Stuffed Karela. Bharwa means stuffing and karela denotes Bitter Gourd in English. Its scientific name is Momordica charantia Mizo.  In the 14th century, traders from India brought bitter melon to China. The bitter gourd is a tropical Asian fruit that is native to the old world and is most common in the Indo Burma region.Many individuals dislike this bitter veggie and simply refuse to consume it. But did you know that this bitter crop possesses a plethora of benefits. The not-so-likeable vegetable is a great way to treat respiratory issues including asthma, colds, coughs, etc. Additionally, it offers a number of other benefits, including the ability to help you get rid of blemishes, acne, and severe skin infections. The treatment of blood disorders such blood boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis, ringworm, and other fungal infections is also possible.

Preparation time: 45 mins 

Cooking time: 40 mins

Servings: 4 


 •    1 cup paneer

    ½ kg bitter gourd

    2 large onions (finely chopped)

    3 large tomatoes (chopped) 

    4 garlic cloves (minced) 

    2 tbsps ginger (chopped) 

    2 green chillies (finely chopped) 

    1 tsp cumin seeds

    1½ tsp salt

    1 tsp turmeric powder

    1 tsp paprika powder

    1 tsp garam masala

    5 tbsps oil


Brine for the karela: 

    Peel the bitter gourds' outer skin using a knife.

    Deseed the karela.

    Inside and out, sprinkle salt on the bitter gourds.

    Then left to rest for at least 30 minutes. 

For the paneer stuffing: 

    Heat oil in a nonstick pan. 

    Once hot, add cumin seeds and let them crackle. 

    Add minced ginger and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. 

    Add chopped onions and cook until it shrinks and turns golden. 

    Now, add chopped tomatoes and mix well. 

    Once the tomatoes are tender, add salt, turmeric, garam masala, and paprika powder. Mix thoroughly.

    Cook while stirring regularly. 

    Turn off the flame and blend all the masala mix coarsely by using a hand blender.

    Cook again until the oil begins to leave and masala is dry.

    Add crumbled paneer and mix evenly. Allow the stuffing to rest.

For stuffing the karela:

    In a saucepan, heat some oil and add the brined bitter gourds. Keep turning and tossing. 

    Cover and cook over low flame for 15-20 minutes or until they turn soft and brown. 

    Cook for 5 more minutes uncovered and turn off the flame.

    Fill the paneer stuffing equally into the karelas carefully. 

    Fry the stuffed karelas covered again for 15 minutes or till golden brown.

    The delectable, healthy Paneer Bharwa Karela is now ready for serving. 

    Serve it with hot phulkas, puris, or parathas, and boondi raita.