Bitter Gourds Stuffed with Paneer

Photo Source:  Cinnamon Chillies

Photo Source: Cinnamon Chillies

Bitter gourds, also known as bitter melon or karela, are an Ayurvedic super-food, renowned for blood sugar control, diabetes, weight loss, blood cleansing and skin health. But their bitter taste can be off-putting to some. Here is a delicious way to enjoy the benefits of bitter gourd together with some quality protein from paneer, a fresh Ayurvedic cheese. See here how to make paneer.

This recipe is designed for the small bitter gourds that can be purchased from Indian grocery stores. If you are using large bitter gourds from an Asian market, you will need fewer bitter gourds.

Serves 4-5


  • 8 small bitter gourds

  • Pinch turmeric

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 1 Yukon gold potato

  • 1tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • ¼ tsp. peppercorns

  • 1 tsp. turmeric

  • ½ tsp. mild chilli powder

  • Paneer made from ½ gallon milk

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 green chilli, chopped

  • Sunflower oil

  • 6-8 curry leaves

  • A pinch hing

  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds


Boil the potato in salted water until fork tender.

Bring some water to boil in a pan, add pinch of turmeric and ½ tsp. salt and boil the bitter gourds for 5-6 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water.

Slice the softened bitter gourds in half and remove the seeds.

In a skillet, dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns. Grind the roasted seeds in a spice grinder with the turmeric and mild chilli powder.

Mash the potato and the paneer together with a potato masher and stir in the spice mix, chopped chilli and salt to taste.

Fill each bitter gourd half with this mixture.

Heat some oil in a large skillet and drop in the mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves, taking care not to burn the mustard seeds.

Add the stuffed bitter gourds and pan fry, basting often, until they are golden brown and the bitter gourds are soft.

Keep in warm oven until ready to serve.


Menu Suggestion: Pairs well with Matar Pulau: Ayurvedic Spiced Rice with Peas.

Adapted from this recipe.

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!