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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Karele ka Bharta (Kalara Bharta/Bittergourd bharta)

For most of us, the term 'bharta' evokes images of a popular Punjabi eggplant recipe. But there is nothing Punjabi about this one. Nor does it use any eggplant. This is one of the simplest things that one can do with bittergourd or 'karela', which is also termed as the 'manaa' for diabetics. It contains atleast three compounds ( one of them being polypeptide-p which also acts like insulin )which help to reduce/regulate blood sugar levels . Even the leaves of this plant are edible and are consumed for its medicinal properties.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 medium sized bitter gourd
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 green chilis
  • 1/2 tsp pancha phutana (panch phoran)
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Wash the bitter gourd and cut into two. Cook with 1/2 cup water, salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker. Remove from flame after 2-3 whistles. Once the steam escapes, open the lid and drain off excess water.

Mash with salt and green chili.

Chop the onion into medium sized pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil in kadai / wok. Once it starts smoking, add the pancha phutana and the onions. Fry till onions turn translucent.

Add the mashed bitter gourd and cook for another 6-7 minutes till it starts to brown a bit.

Remove from flame. Sprinkle lemon juice and crushed garlic, and mix.

Serve hot with rotis.

Note - One can also add some tomatoes instead of the lemon juice.


  1. Very delicious bharta, i want to make some soon.

  2. I was not aware of this method of cooking with karela! yes as you have mentioned we generally associate 'bharta' with eggplant or aubergine.
    interesting recipe:)


  3. Lots of great looking dishes here! I can't keep up with all the dishes I want to make...there's always so many good ones :)
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