Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Besan

Bitter gourds are a remarkably healthy food, good for blood sugar, diabetes and weight loss. They are also good blood purifiers and helpful for psoriasis and other skin rashes. There are two varieties, a darker green, wartier and more bitter variety sold in Indian grocery stores and a paler green and smoother variety, pictured above, sold in Asian markets. Due to their bitterness, they have the reputation of being an acquired taste. This delicious recipe will help you acquire the taste!

Besan is a flour made from chana dal and is available in Indian grocery stores. Chickpea flour would be a substitute.

Thank you to chef Ish Baker for taking the photos and creating this super-easy way to make Bitter Gourds Stuffed with Besan! The photos will help you get the recipe right the first time.


  • 4 bitter gourds, size about 6 inch long. If longer, cut into 6 inch pieces. (Also known as bitter melon or karela)

  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped

  • 1" ginger, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 4 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil

  • 4 Tbsp besan (chickpea flour)

  • 1 tsp red chili powder

  • Salt, to taste

  • 2 tsp Coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp amchur (Mango powder) or lime/lemon juice, 2 tsp

  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 pinch hing


  1. Wash bitter gourds thoroughly with water. If they are of longer variety, cut them into pieces of 6 inch size.

  2. Lightly steam the bitter gourds to make it easier to slit, scoop and stuff them. Take out of steamer and cool until you can handle them.

  3. DO NOT cut the bitter gourds in half BUT just SLIT them open lengthwise so seeds can be removed & stuffing added. Remove the seeds.

  4. Heat a frying pan and add 2 tsp oil. When the oil becomes hot, add cumin seeds and hing. When the seeds becomes dark, add, green chili, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add all the spices and besan. Stir well and cook until the mixture turns light brown, about 5-7 minutes. Mix half the cilantro

  5. Fill the above mixture in each bitter gourd and close it back up.

  6. Brush the bitter gourds with oil. Place in an oven dish and bake at 375 'F until soft (about an hour), turning them after 30 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.

  7. Serve with rice & dal or simply with chapatti.

Ayurvedic Recipes_Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Besan.jpg
Slitting the bitter gourds

Slitting the bitter gourds

Taking out the seeds.

Taking out the seeds.

Stuffing and baking

Stuffing and baking

Turning after 30 minutes

Turning after 30 minutes

Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!