Stuffed Bitter Gourd

IMG_4204A winning dish in itself , when you can feed your family some Bitter Gourds and have them come for a second serving. But honestly , I do know some friends and family who absolutely love the Bitter gourd along with some spice and sweet extravagance.  Bitter gourds or Bitter Melons are power houses of health.  Pre-marriage I’ve seen my parents have bitter gourd regularly since it has a tremendous benefit of reducing the blood glucose levels. With my dad being a diabetic, there were fewer variations to my mom’s preparations and using anything sweet was a complete no-no.

Carrying these genes on , I have realised ( finally ) that I can’t ignore bitter gourds any longer and should try and incorporate them in my food as much as I can. Knowing me , I’ve used some shortcuts here to make this more appealing ( read sweet and anything that cuts through the bitterness ).

Serves : 4


  1. 2 Bitter gourds
  2. 1 Onion
  3. 1 Inch ginger julienned or made into a paste
  4. 3 to 4 garlic cloves.
  5. 3 tablespoons Peanut Butter ( unsweetened )*
  6. 2 Tablespoons Tamarind Paste*
  7. 1 Tablespoon Jaggery*/ Sugar
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 Teaspoons



  1. Wash the bitter gourds and trim the peaks off them.
  2. Cut the Bitter gourd in the centre if you like smaller portions and cut them across on one side.
  3. Remove the seeds.
  4. Prepare the stuffing by cooking the onions , ginger paste and garlic cloves in some oil. Once done , add the Peanut Butter , tamarind paste and jaggery / sugar , salt and cook them until they all combine.
  5. Stuff the bitter gourds with this mixture and secure them with a clean thread ensuring the stuffing does not ooze out while cooking.
  6. Cook the stuffed bitter gourds on a shallow pan with little oil on a low flame until they are done.


  1. The Peanut butter used in this recipe is an unsweetened one and the Jaggery was added to the recipe. You can vary the sweetness or eliminate it completely from the recipe.
  2. Tamarind Paste is made by soaking Tamarind in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze it in the water and using a large  strainer and a spatula or spoon, strain tamarind pulp from the fibers and into a bowl.

This recipe should take about 30 minutes.



20 responses to “Stuffed Bitter Gourd

  1. I would have never thought of Peanut butter and bitter gourd! This looks gourmet! I have always struggled with bitter gourd and had given up – but this makes me want to try again! 🙂

    • Thanks Priya. PB was more of a convenience factor that worked well eventually. Please do try. will look fwd to your take on the recipe.

  2. That looks A-MA-ZING! I love that you used peanut butter as one of the filling ingredients; how convenient! Bitter gourd is just so good for you (i.e. controlling blood sugar levels), this recipe just makes a huge dosage of goodness. I’m always running out of ideas with bitter gourd, but now I know a new tip 🙂

    • Thanks a lot Iz. Convenient is the key word 🙂 Had a jar of Peanut butter lying nearby and it was an experiment that worked so well 🙂 It’s a great way to get my family to eat Bitter gourds that way :)..

      • Yeah, it’s so good for you though. I guess peanut butter would be a great way to lure the kids! In Thai culture we normally have sliced bitter gourd in soup with pork mince balls and vermicelli noodles – แกงจืดมะระ Since you’re vegetarian I guess you would have to go with tofu? For the mince. And less commonly we have raw thinly sliced bitter gourd in our spicy salads. These are just the few ways of cooking bitter gourd I know of. Do you buy your bitter gourd fresh? They’re hard to find in NZ..

      • Ah ! I love Thai food. Your description took me back to some great memories of eating street food in Thailand. Well i’m not a vegetarian 🙂 I make a lot of fish , chicken at home, haven’t cooked pork at home though. We get a lot of fresh vegetables in India. Some right from someone’s farm at times. When I read about how difficult it is to get some vegetables , I am so thankful for getting everything in India at almost arm’s distance ! There goes a thought for Thanksgiving 🙂
        Bitter gourd for salads and soup sounds fantastic…love this idea exchange.
        I’ve got a tangy Bitter Gourd Pickle to…will post soon 🙂

      • Yummy! I’ve got a whole assortment of Indian pickles, bit some are really way too too salty! Like this lime pickle I bought… somehow, I got that impression that you were vegetarian! Anyway, then do you make dishes with fish heads? When did you last visit Thailand? Thai street food is delicious! I don’t know much about Indian street food… what part of India do you live in? And you celebrate thanksgiving?

      • 🙂 I visited Thailand last year during Songkran. It was a lot of fun around that time. I love everything about Thai food , it’s so fresh and full of soul. Actually , the only thing I completely avoid while cooking fish is the heads 🙂 We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in India. I’m from Bangalore.

      • Wow! Lucky you! I haven’t been in Thailand during Songkran for six years. Did your kids enjoy water fights? Did you have some fun with the locals? Being non-vegetarian, you would’ve indulged in all Thai street food had to offer! Why do you avoid fish heads?? (I know India is different from Sri Lanka) but my mum’s friend loves making this fish head recipe that comes wrapped in banana leaves and with rice and dahl.

      • My daughter didn’t make much sense of what was happening , except that she liked that everyone was pouring water on each other. She probably would have thought that Thailand is more Fun 🙂 She’s 3 BTW.
        The fish heads make me feel monstrous , almost imagining the Fish staring at me menacingly while I just cook’s more of a mind thing and definitely not the taste. My mom and Mother in law make curries out of the Fish heads and I’ve heard that they are Yummm!
        Sri Lankan cuisine is so vibrant and beautiful, I absolutely love them! But , eating the fish head is on my to do list! Someday Someday 🙂

      • So sorry for the late reply! I’ve been crazily studying for exams, for university actually. I am going to Thailand actually in 2 days. But won’t be staying for the songkran festival.
        Oh come on, you don’t have to put fish healthy on a to do list! Make it daily! Fish head eating for me is really a way to connect to the animals you eat, and truly appreciate their life. It makes me feel better about eating them somehow. Haha.
        will you ask your mum to share her curry recipes sometime? And I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to see much of the head when it’s all broken up in stews, etc!
        I don’t know much about Sri Lankan food apart from the banana leaves wrapped rice with fish head curry. Do you enjoy cooking Sri Lankan? Isaw you’ve experimented with Thai 🙂

      • Oh , good luck with the exams and hope you have a fantastic vacation ! It’s funny , how we think exactly opposite about eating fish. I get all hassled for the exact same reason 🙂 I will share the recipes soon when my mom makes them 🙂 Sri Lankan is very similar to Indian cooking , so we may inadvertently be cooking something everyday 🙂 The only thing different is the spice that really hits the back of the tongue as opposed to the spice we experience in India. The food is again awesome! Now that I am talking about it , i’m kicked to try some new recipe myself!

      • So sorry for neglecting to reply! It’s simply because I’ve been so busy with college application right now (after being busy with exams). I’m sure you would be busy too, being a mother of young children. It’s a full time job right?? I will need to check your Sri lankan cooking out sometime 🙂 Also, have you tried Indian food in Thailand?? Some of the restaurants seem to serve real authentic flavours, but I could never know since I’ve never been to India! If I do get the chance to visit an Indian restuarant here, I will blog about it!

      • Oh don’t worry about it Iz. I understand multi-tasking is extremely difficult. We’ll catch up soon 🙂 Until then take care!

    • Yeah sounded like it would be an Epic Failure to me as well , but I was so happy with the complementing textures and the sweetness and bitter contrast 🙂

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