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Monday, August 21, 2017

Bharwan Karela | Pavakka Nirachathu | Stuffed Bitter Gourd (Step by Step Pics)

Bitter gourd(pavakka) has many interesting facts apart from fighting diabetes. Did you know bitter gourd is effective in treating skin conditions and skin infections, eczema and psoriasis? Yes.. the blood purifying properties in bitter gourd helps prevent acne and does wonders. A glass of bitter juice everyday helps reinforcing your immune system and helps fight many diseases even cancer. However, make sure you are buying the organic ones or growing your own plant in the backyard.

Long back, as a school kid I used to see my North Indian friends bring this stuffed karela(pavakka) to school with rotis. Then, one day as a curious kid I requested mom to make it at home and she recreated the magic by asking her north indian friends in the neighbourhood. I did enjoy it but it wasn't a regular affair as we don't try much of other style recipes other than kerala style. Now, when I got hold of these cute fresh small ones the first thing that popped in my mind was to make stuffed karela(pavakka). When I asked mom she could list down the ingredients but hardly remember the quantities. Finally ended up searching and made this one day. Thanks to my family who love bitter gourds so was easy to finish. This recipe is not very spicy so if you wish to increase spice then add more chilli powder as per tastes. Authentically, mustard oil is to be used but H doesn't like the flavor and so I dropped that idea and made in canola oil. This was made when we were in US, was staying in drafts and here am yet to find these small ones. Try it out if you get these small cute bitter gourd and do let me know the feedback :)

Preparation time~ 15 minutes
Cooking time~ 15 minutes
Serves~ 6-7 stuffed karela

bitter gourd /pavakka / karela small or medium sized 6-7
lemon juice 1tsp
salt a tsp

for filling
cumin seeds /jeerakam 1/2 tsp
fennel powder /perinjeerakam podi 2tsp
coriander powder /malli podi 2tsp
chilli powder / milagu podi 1/2 tsp
garam masala 1/4tsp
amchur powder/dry mango powder 1tsp
asafoetida powder/ kayam podi a pinch
oil 4 tbsp (1 tbsp for filling + 3tbsp for frying)
salt to taste

toin or thread to tie the bitter gourds(karela)

  • Wash the bitter gourds(pavakka) under running water.Scrape the bitter gourd outer skin  and make a gash,remove the seeds without breaking open into two (if the seeds are matured,can be discarded as it bites through.The spongy seeds can be taken and can be chopped along with outer scraps) and keep aside.

  • Marinate the bitter gourds(pavakka),the scraps using lemon juice and salt.Leave for half an hour,squeeze out the juice drained out (helps to reduce the bitterness).
  • Heat a tbsp of oil and add the spices on low flame.Add the scraps, the flesh (if using) and cook for 5-6 minutes. Switch off flame and leave to cool.

  • Once cooled, fill the bitter gourd with the filling tightly and tie each with toin or thread (I used thread). Ensure to tie the toin or thread tightly as it loosens up when you cook as the bitter gourd shrinks.
  • Heat a non stick pan and add oil. Keep the flame on medium,add the stuffed bitter gourd(pavakka). Then, reduce to low and cook else the oil turns black and the filling seeps out. Keep rotating all sides and cook for 6-7 minutes by covering with a lid.Check the bitter gourd and rotate the bitter gourd again for another 5 minutes,till the outer cover is crisp and browned.
  •  Drain on a paper towel and serve warm with chapathis or rice. Remove the threads and enjoy. We had with chapathis and thakkali curry(tomato curry).
* Make sure to select fresh small stout type bitter gourds(pavakka) that helps in filling easily.
* I have adapted the recipe by watching Manjula's kitchen and
* If you wish to keep the biiterness then omit the marination and squeezing out. Use just like that.
OR If you wish to reduce more of the bitterness then along with marination, wash the scraps also under running water.
* Use mustard oil if you like the flavors for more authentic taste.

You may also like these
* Pavakka achar (Bittergourd Pickle)
* Pavakka Theeyal
* Baked Bitter gourd Fries (Pavakka mezhukuparetti,baked version))


Chitz said... Best Blogger Tips

Looks nice.. my hubby would love this as he loves pavakka 👍

great-secret-of-life said... Best Blogger Tips

tempting Bharwan Karela.. Sometime I add Besan flour too

Julie said... Best Blogger Tips

Wil try adding besan next tym I make.. Thanks!!

Suja Manoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Never tried this before, looks super yum.

Faseela said... Best Blogger Tips

New one...havent tried....looks yum