Madhu's vantalu

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Stuffed Bittergourd (Kakarkaya pottalu)

Posted by Madhavi on January 31, 2008


Madhu’s Vantalu moved. Check out for new recipes.

I assume most of you out there are not a big fan of bitter gourd like i was. Though its extremely bitter, it has tons of nutritional values to it. It stimulates digestion and is also very good for diabetes people.

A while back i asked Ven, how come most of the things which we like (sweets, fried items) are not healthy and the things which we don’t like (like certain type of veggies, fruits, whole wheat products) are healthy. He replied by asking me: why do you like something when you know its not healthy for you. I think we all know that, but we end up leaning towards the unhealthy stuff.

As of know my priorities and my eating habits are changing for good. Now my perspective is-just give a try and try getting use to it. You may not love it, but i am sure you will eventually like it. One vegetable i have adapted this kind of strategy is bitter gourd.

when ever my mom made stuffed bitter gourd, I used to eat the stuffing and just the seeds in the bitter gourd. But now i eat all of eat. If i am running the kitchen, In addition to just cooking i need to eat them to set a good example at least for the people around me.



Madhu’s Vantalu moved. Check out for new recipes.



Bitter gourd(Karela/Kakarkayi)- Medium size 2

Medium sized onion-1 (chopped to tiny pieces)

dalia powder/chanaga pappu powder- 4 tbsps

grated dry coconut – 1 1/2 tbsps

red chille powder- 1/2 to 1 tsp

and salt as desired


My mom’s version of cooking the Bittergourd:

My mom used to cook the whole bitter gourd in a pot with some salt, turmeric and tamarind. Once cooked she used to pan fry(not deep fry) the bitter gourd with a teaspoon of oil till its roasted on all sides. And then cut in the center and stuff the dalia and coconut mixture.

My version of cooking Bittergourd:

Cut the bitter gourd in to thin round circles. Pop them in the microwave and cook for good three minutes. Now in a pan put a teaspoon of oil and fry the bittergourd on both sides till golden brown. Sprinkle some salt and keep a side.

In the same pan, add some more oil and add the chopped onion. Cook until soft and then add the dalia, coconut, red chillie powder and salt. At this point the mixture will be dry, sprinkle few tablespoons of water which will help you make round balls out of it. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves and turn off the stove.

When the mixture is warm enough to handle, make round balls out of it. And serve this with the pan fried bitter gourd and hot rice.


If you want to take away at least little bit of bitterness from the BG, cook them in water with some salt, tumeric and tamarind. Drain and cut into small circles and pan fry them.

This recipe requires very little oil because we cook the BG in microwave/water. 

Recipe: Amma

Madhu’s Vantalu moved. Check out for new recipes.



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16 Responses to “Stuffed Bittergourd (Kakarkaya pottalu)”

  1. Latha said

    Hi Madhavi,

    No one but me can agree better with you on ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ foods:) As you say when we take over the cooking we start eating healthy to a great extent. I’d definitely try your mom’s method… once my friend had served it that way. steaming the bittergourd not only removes the bitterness a lot but also consumes less oil while frying after stuffing.

  2. Srivalli said

    Madhavi…they look so nice..I don’t like karela..but hubby loves them…so will try next time!

  3. Jayashree said

    The first pic looks delicious…Iam dying to try this out now…

  4. Padmaja said

    Stuffed Bittergourds looks so yum, i too make them but my stuffing is very different!!
    I am gonna try your version, it looks so spicy!!

  5. Uma said

    Nice display. Can’t wait to try your version of bittergourd. thanks for sharing.

  6. remya.sash said

    love ur stuffing ….looks dleich n spicy…i make just bitterground fry

  7. Madhavi said

    Thanks everyone! Do try and let me know how it turns out.
    The bitter taste of BG is very well complimented by the dalia,coconut and chille mixture.


  8. Lakshmi said

    A very nice recipe for BG. Will try it next time when I buy BG.

  9. Help and Guidance for patients suffering from diabetes can be found here at

    If you are apatient of diabetes or know any patient suffering from diabetes you must refer him to this site

  10. Deepa said

    This looks awesome ….I love bittergourd in any form ….excellent stuffing

  11. […] Stuffed bittergourd is worth a try. […]

  12. Pushpa said

    Hello Madhu,

    I happened to visit ur blog when I was searching for Moong sprouts recipes. All ur recipes left me in AWW!!!! I am 3 months pregnant and all ur pictures made me hungry(irrespective of my nausea) and I feel like having all of then NOWWWW :). Great pictures and great presentation. Keep up ur good work and pls continue ur knowledge tranfer for poor cooks like me. My hugs and love to Arpita. Take Care..

    Thanks Pushpa! Congrats and good luck with your pregnancy! I hope you will feel better. Nausea! I remember those days. Try eating sour things. That might help.
    Also try my mango rice, its really nice during pregnancy!


  13. Sandhya said

    Hi Madhoo,

    It has been years I tried cooking bittergourd, your recipe looks great…
    I will try soon.
    Great Work!!!! :-)

    Take care,

    Hey Sanju,

    You havent eaten BG for years? Well then start boiling the water…

    By the way how was ur sprout salad? I will call u tomorrow.


  14. radha said

    hi i liked your stuffed bittergourd receipe but i am unable to know what is dalia please help

    Dalia is roasted chana dal. The dal which we use to make chutney’s for dosa and Idli. I hope it helps.

  15. M J said

    Nice recipe! will definitely try it soon.
    I am still looking for a recipe which doesnt propose salting and washing the BG or boiling and then draining. As both the methods though reduce the bitterness strip all the nutrients from BG the very reason for which we are eating it.
    Keep posting nice recipes.


  16. dhatri said

    hi madhavi,
    great recipe. I would like to suggest one small variation. As MJ has mentioned, all the goodness of the BG is lost once the water in which it is boiled is drained. My grandmother used to make the same recipe by boiling the BG in only sufficient amount (the BGs should just dip) of butter milk and boil them till all the buttermilk is soaked by the BGs. So, no draining and retaining all the greatness of the BG.


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