Monday, 19 May 2014

Qeema Bhary Karelay - Stuffed Bitter Gourd

Bitter Gourd is just a melon.... 
obsessed with bitterness.
Bitter Gourd is one of the most popular vegetable but actually it is a fruit which is extremely bitter, also called Bitter Melon, has an acquired taste. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit is grown in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. It is widely eaten by the people not only for its unique taste but also for it medical use for many diseases like diabetes, kidney stones, cancer and some stomach problems.
In Pakistan it's common name is Kerela, often cooked with onions, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, and a pinch of cumin seeds. Another dish in Pakistan calls for whole, unpeeled bitter melon to be boiled and then stuffed with cooked minced beef, served with either hot tandoori bread, naan, chappati, or with khichri (a mixture of lentils and rice).
The latter recipe is called Bhara Karela, the only difficulty people face is to stuff the gourd and cook it still it's not open, I have seen people trying different techniques to get over this problem of stuff popping out, but the problem is not cooking it is the cutting technique. People cut the gourds right in the middle vertically, remove the seeds, fill the stuffing and use tooth pick to pin the open edges together, some use  threads and roll it around the gourd, some even do stitching with needle and thread and try to sew the opening.
Thats totally weired ... isn't it...? and honestly, those threads not only look very messy in dinner plate but its very difficult to eat in that way as well.

Here's a secret.........The method I have learned from my mother is a miracle for all those using above techniques, you don't need tooth pick, neither thread nor needle off-course. A little favor you'll need is only your own hand, and rest will be done with the gourd itself. Just see below the recipe and you'll know how it works...!!
Recipe is very easy but time taking and requires little bit of attention because all it takes to make this delicious dish is to fry the gourd perfectly.  I am using chicken mince, you can prefer whichever meat you like, plenty of onions and tomatoes and 3G vegetable ... 3G means Grass Green Gourds.


1 kg bitter gourds
500 g onion
250 g tomatoes
2 green or red chillies
1 cup oil
remaining mince stuffing
1 tsp salt - for salting the gourds
coriander for garnish

Mince stuffing:

1 kg chicken mince 
250 g tomatoes - finely chopped
250 g onions - finely chopped
1 bunch of coriander
1 bunch of mint
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala


First of all, peel the bumpy skins of the gourds just to even the surface, don't try to make it smooth because it will cause the skin to burst while stuffing will goes in. Note: don't throw the peels right away we have better use of it but let me finish with the gourds first. Cut one inch edge of the gourd and remove the seeds with a round pit remover tool or you can substitute this tool with stem of a spoon. Sprinkle a tsp of salt all over the gourd and set aside salting process for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes wash the gourds under fresh running water and pet dry with kitchen towel or paper. 
Now the peels resting for a while, you can use them also just move the knife over the peels 2-3 time to cut them and thinly slice the top parts of the gourds which were removed before. sprinkle a bit of salt over them too. Believe me these are going to make the actual flavor the outside the gourd material of the dish.
Mean while, mix chopped tomatoes, onions, mint leaves, coriander leaves and spices - enlisted under stuffing ingredients - in the mince. Stuff the gourds with mince from one side open - used to remove the seeds - with your fingers and push the material inside with your thumb and press as much as you can but careful enough not to burst the gourd from other side. Stuff up all the gourds and set aside the remaining mince.
In a large heavy base skillet heat the oil and place the stuffed gourd in it carefully, let them fry on medium heat. It doesn't need to run the spatula in it like a newbie, just leave it for 5 minutes and roll off the side of the stuffed bitter roll to other side with a tong preferably. Repeat the process for all side; probably four of them. Does a round roll gourd veggie really have four sides.
Anyway, you can easily see the difference of bright grass green turning to crispy golden green, you have to take a look time to time and move the side down or up are required to get a even crisp not burnt.

Meanwhile, the gourds are getting ready, cook the remaining mince. Put some oil in a wok add mince let it turn to clog add chopped tomatoes and mix well. Let it simmer, lid down for about 15 minutes till the chicken mince is cooked.

When the gourds are fried remove them and put the peels in the oil and fry the same way did for gourds. Remember: you have to squeeze the peels and wash them under running water in a colander. After the peels are golden and crisp add the pile of chopped onion and stir fry it till onions are soft.

Add the cooked mince green chillies and mix well, add the fried stuffed gourds, you can taste the material at this time and can add some of the spice as required and cover the pot. Let it cook and warm up the stuffed gourds for about 10 minutes on low heat.

Garnish with garam masala and coriander leaves and serve hot with Chappatti, Paratha, Naan or Rice.

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