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Bharli Karli (Maharashtrian Style Stuffed Bitter Gourd)

Nothing can beat this mouth-watering preparation of Maharashtrian Style Stuffed Bitter Gourd.
This recipe of mine is especially for People who HATE Bitter Gourd…. Try this recipe and I bet you gonna love it…
Very Bitter???? Not at all….Turmeric and Salt does the MagiCCC.
Smoky flavour of Dry Coconut grilled over open fire
Slit, Steamed, Deseeded and Rinsed… Stuffed with coarsely ground spicy and tangy filling prepared with Dry Coconut grilled over open fire, roasted peanuts skinned, Home-Made Lal Tikhat Masala ,Garlic cloves, Tamarind pulp, green chilles, Turmeric and Salt+ finely chopped fresh Cilantro….. Tied with threads and shallow-fried in Peanut Oil.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Steaming of Bitter Gourd: 6 minutes

Shallow frying: 8 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients and Quantity:

Bitter Gourd, small size- 16 nos.

Salt- 1 tsp.

Turmeric- 1 tsp

Water- as required for steaming

For the stuffing / Filling:

Dry Coconut (Khopra) grilled on open fire- 3 nos.

Peanuts, roasted and skinned- 1 cup

Garlic cloves, dry roasted- 10 nos.

Green chillies, deseeded, stem discarded- 2 nos.

Tamarind pulp, thick- ½ tbsp.

Home-made lal tikhat masala- 3 tsp. / or more if desired

Asafoetida – a pinch

Turmeric- 1/4th tsp.

Salt to taste

Cilantro, very finely chopped- ½ tbsp.

To Tie the Bitter Gourd

Cotton thread ,preferably white- as required

For the shallow frying:

Peanut oil- 3 tbsp. / as required


Wash the bitter gourd thoroughly.

With the help of sharp knife, slit the centre of each bitter gourd vertically across its length. Do not cut off the stem.

Apply salt and turmeric in the slits.

Place a deep pan half filled with water, bring it to a boil, place a colander on top of it and place the bitter gourd in it. Cover and steam the bitter gourd for 3 minutes on one side and then changing rotating the same and steaming it for another 3 minutes on that side.

Remove from the flame wash it under running water. With the help of a very small spoon remove the seeds from it and discard them.

Wash the bitter gourd again under running water ensuring that the water is completely drained off.

For the stuffing / filling: coarsely grind all the ingredients mentioned from Dry coconut to green chillies. Now add the thick tamarind pulp, asafoetida, lal tikhat, turmeric, salt and finely chopped cilantro. Mix well.

Divide the masala equally in to 16 parts and fill each bitter gourd neatly without stuffing it too much or too little.

Now tie each bitter gourd with the threads.

In a non-stick pan add the peanut oil , once hot, reduce the flame and place the bitter gourds, shallow fry covered with a lid / cover on each side till crisp and golden brown in colour.

Relish these bitter gourds with hot puffed phulkas.

Chef Tips:

  1. You may use a hard anodized pan to shallow fry the bitter-gourd.
  2. You may use sunflower oil instead of peanut oil.
  3. The entire masala for stuffing / filling can be prepared without adding the tamarind pulp and cilantro and can be stored in an airtight glass container and placed in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Remember to add tamarind pulp and cilantro before preparing the bitter gourds.

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