Bharwan Karela is a side or instant pickle of stuffed bitter gourd. It is made with filling of raw mango and bitter gourd peel and pickle masala.
Bitter gourd is synonymous with memories of my Dad. I was introduced to it because of him. My Dad was a diabetic for as long as I remember. And bitter gourd is known to help in controlling sugar levels. It was a staple side dish or a pickle served with our daily meals.
I make it quite often at my place too but the taste is never the same. I asked my mother to make it when I visited her in summer.
Mom made this recipe as he liked it – spicy, sour, tangy and slightly burnt.
We fill it with raw mango and roast it whole, on slow fire in mustard oil. Since raw mango is mostly available in summers, it is an important part of meal during that time.
Bitter gourd is washed, then outer ridges are scraped off and mixed in the raw mango filling along with the spices. After scraping the bitter gourd, it is generously rubbed with salt and then kept in the sun for few hours. This step helps in reducing the bitterness and make it more palatable.
Afterwards, it is washed and squeezed to remove excess salt and water.
If you do not like it burnt, keep a continuous watch and remove as soon as bitter gourd is tender.
This post is dedicated to my Dad and his memories. I love you Dad, wherever you are, and please know that we all miss you.
- Wash the bitter gourd thoroughly. Using a serrated knife scrape off the ridges of the bitter gourd and collect them in a bowl. Do not throw away the scraping.
- Cut the bitter gourd lengthwise on one side leaving the ends intact for easy opening to fill them.
- Liberally rub the bitter gourd inside and outside with salt and set out in sun for couple of hours.
- In the meanwhile, peel and grate the raw mango.
- Wash the salted bitter gourd thoroughly and then squeeze it to remove excess water. Also squeeze the bitter gourd scraping to remove the bitter juices. You can collect the bitter juice and use it for drinking or other purposes.
- Now mix the scraping, spices and raw mango together in a large bowl.
- Using your thumb and forefinger, open the split bitter gourd and generously fill it with the prepared filling. Once done, tie it with a thread/ string to hold it in place for easy roasting.
- Heat a flat bottom wide skillet. Add mustard oil. Now gently place prepared bitter gourds side by side, leaving enough space to turn them around.
- Roast on slow flame till done. You can cover the lid for few minutes for faster cooking.
- Serve as a side dish or pickle as per your preference.
- You can skip tying the thread if you are comfortable turning it around.
- If you do not like it burnt, you can cook completely covered and remove from flame when it is tender.
- If you salt and wash them as detailed above, the bitterness is almost nil.
- At my place it is described as both a pickle (when eaten for adding extra taste to a meal) or a side dish (when eaten like a dish). So eat as you like and enjoy.