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Stuffed Bitter Gourd / Bharwa Karela / Kakarakaya Ulli Karam Koora

VegCookBook by Praveena
South Indian style, authentic recipe for stuffed bitter gourd / bharwa karela, using basic ingredients from the pantry. Both Stove Top and Air Fryer methods given with step wise pics, tips.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Accompaniment, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 12 pieces


  • Small mixing bowl (for the stuffing)
  • Small Frying pan (for stove-top method)
  • Air-Fryer for air-fryer method


  • 6 count Bitter Gourd / Kakarakaya / Karela (medium size / as per pic above)
  • 3 cups Hot Boiling Water
  • as per taste Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Besan / Chickpea Flour / Senagapindi
  • 3 teaspoons Red Chilli Powder / Kaaram
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder / Pasupu
  • 2 count Onions (medium size)
  • 4 count Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tablespoons Fresh Coriander Leaves (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons Cooking Oil (stove top method)
  • 3 teaspoons " " (air fryer method)


PREP WORK (common for both methods):

  • Wash the bitter gourd/ kakarakaya, cut the tiny edges on both sides.
    Using the blunt side of the vegetable knife, gently scrape off the skin lightly.
    Cut each into half, then slit open only on one side by giving a cut across.
    Add little turmeric powder, teaspoon of salt, into a bowl of hot boiling water.
    Drop them into the bowl.Set aside for 10 mins.
  • For the stuffing:
    Peel and then chop the onions finely.
    Take the onion pieces and garlic cloves into a mixie / spice blender, grind them into fine paste.
    Transfer this paste to a small bowl.
    Add the chickpea flour/besan, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder to the same bowl.
  • Mix everything thoroughly and using a teaspoon, insert this stuffing into each karela/ bitter gourd through the slit we made at one end.
    Put everything aside.


  • Put a small pan on stove top under medium flame, pour the oil and let it heat.
    Gently place the stuffed karela / bitter gourd into the pan and close it with lid.
  • After 5 mins turn each to the other side and close the pan with lid.
    Let it fry for more 3-4 mins.
  • Then, open the lid,check if each one has softened. If not, let them get fried for more time.
  • Once, all of them have softened, add the remaining stuffing. Mix everything.
    Switch off the flame after a min! Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Done!!


  • Spray / brush the air fryer mesh with cooking oil.
    Gently place the stuffed bitter gourd pieces onto the mesh.
    Again spray/brush each one with cooking oil.
    Close the air fryer, set the time to 10 mins, temperature to 200C / 390F.
  • After 10 mins, pause the air fryer, gently turn each one to the other side.
    Brush/spray with oil. Close the air fryer again.
    Set the time to 5 mins, and temperature to 200C / 390F.
  • Later switch OFF the air fryer, take the stuffed bitter gourd out of the air fryer onto a serving dish.
    Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Done!


Please see the MAIN POST for step wise PICS recipe & TIPS!
Keyword air fryer recipe using bitter gourd, kakarakaya ulli karam in air fryer, stuffed bitter gourd recipe