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Different bitter melon recipes like salad?

rworange Sep 9, 2006 03:53 AM

I bought my first bitter melon and the food gods smiled on me and I picked the right bitter melon - light green with interior seeds just turning red ... not too bitter.

http://www.hormel.com/kitchen/glossary.asp?id=35437

I made a raw bitter melon salad which I liked and started looking for some other different preps for bitter melon. Here is an interesting one for Bitter Melon with Chiles, Yogurt ,and Peaches

http://www.toomanychefs.com/archives/001838.php

This site has some recipes using raw bitter melon like shrimp and seafood salads. They even have bitter melon con carne.

http://ampalayaherb.com/Ampalaya%20Recipes.htm

Any other different ideas other than the same old, same old stir fry and soup?

Also, is bitter melon the broccoli of Asian veggies?

By that I mean that for years, people over-boiled, over-cooked brocolli leaving it mushy and bad tasting. Is that maybe why people don't like bitter melon? Over-cooked?

After a topic on bitter melon on the general board, the idea of bitter melon sorbet appealed to me, but didn't want to go through the trouble. Someone suggested freezing one and making a bitter melon popsicle ... ok, I'm up for that.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/310269

So first there the whole drama of learning you only keep the skin and toss the seeds and membrane which one site said was slightly toxic ... swell.

This was my first encounter with a bitter melon of a personal kind. Only had it once or twice in Chinese restaurants.

I thought it would be like a summer squash and just sliced up. It seems that ALL the white can't be removed from the green. That white is the bitter part. Never knew it is quinine that makes the melon bitter.

I decide to try a tiny bit raw. It was really good with a fabulous crunchy celery texture, but not as hard. There was a nice green vegetal taste with a slight bitter accent.

I liked it so much that I only froze two slices for a test and decided to eat the rest fresh.

So I made a chicken breast, grape, bitter melon, cherry tomato salad mixed with mayo ... don't tell your Asian mama on me.

It was pretty good. Chicken is maybe not the best complement to that bitter flavor, but nice contrast of sweet and bitter.

Because it was not too bitter raw, I was wondering if maybe cooking brought out extra bitterness. So I fried some up in olive oil and cooking just might make it a little more bitter.

So the more cooking maybe, the more bitter?

I made a cheddar and bitter melon omelette with the fried bitter melon. Catsup for a condiment. I was feeling very inovative at this point until I learned that bitter melon with egg is quite common.

This link has a similar recipe and lots of good bitter melon info.

http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/bitterm.html

Heck, I'm not even the first person to combine bitter melon with mayo ... or catsup
http://www.chinesefood-recipes.com/ch...

I actually like snacking on small pieces raw. It is crispy and the bitter flavor makes me not hungry as often.

As to the frozen bitter melon ... not so much, better fresh. However, if I had enough talent to make sorbet, I might just experiment with bitter melon and lime ... sort of an Asian frozen tonic. No plans for bitter melon jello at this point.

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  1. t
    theSauce Sep 9, 2006 04:40 AM

    I like it raw sliced thinly add rice vinegar, garlic, soy and sesame oil. The vinegar seems to cut through the rawness flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: theSauce
      ipsedixit Jul 9, 2009 10:43 AM

      Ditto this.

    2. tuqueboy Sep 9, 2006 04:56 AM

      some laotian friends of mine usually just cut it into chunks and throw it on the bbq, then dip it in either soy sauce or fish sauce mixed with a bit of rice vinegar and chili.

      1. rumgum Sep 9, 2006 05:58 AM

        I eat it mixed into scrambled eggs with ketchup or banana kethup as a condiment. I have had it in many filipino dishes.

        1. Pei Sep 9, 2006 03:18 PM

          Hehe, I like it a little mushy because the bitterness gets cooked out.

          The paler the better, and here's the only way I'll cook it:

          Combine equal parts pork and fish paste (or up to a 2:1 pork:paste ratio).

          Cut the bittermelon into rings a little wider than 1" thick, and scoop out the seeds so you have things shaped like wide napkin rings.

          Stuff the mixture into the middle and press with your palms to make sure the crevices are filled (or the meatball will fall out later).

          Bring a pot of water and/or chicken stock up to a boil, throw the bittermelon in, and simmer until cooked through and tender.

          For those who don't like bittermelon, this is a good introduction. Leftover pork/fish paste mixture can be thrown into boiling water to make fish balls.

          You can also add chopped shrimp to the mix.

          I think this soup is better the next day, as the bitterness mellows out to a light bitterness with a sweet aftertaste.

          1. a
            amylober Jul 9, 2009 07:11 AM

            I was browsing for bitter melon recipes, and I found this thread and thought I would share my findings:

            http://bittermelon.org/eat/bittermelo...

            1. Sam Fujisaka Jul 9, 2009 02:47 PM

              Just saw this old thread and will repeat my fave that I learned from a Vietnamese family way down in the delta near Canh Tho: cut in half cross-wise, hollow out the pulp and seeds with a table knife, stuff each half with a mixture of ground pork, egg, chopped green onions, cilantro, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chiles. Steam; slice into half inch coins, and serve with dipping sauce of lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, chopped chiles, green onion, and cilantro.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                fresnohotspot Jul 9, 2009 07:42 PM

                Yeah! Just call me Pavlov's mutt - that got the salivary glands going.

                That was a classic preparation in my family kitchen.

              2. c
                cimui Jul 9, 2009 04:21 PM

                I'm with Pei -- I like it mushy!

                Are you ony looking for recipes that involve using bitter gourd in salad form? If not, read on...

                Other than boiled in soup (which is actually quite lovely in the summer) or stirfried with eggs and/or pork, I've liked it in a south Indian dish, where the gourd is lightly steamed, stuffed with toasted chickpea flour and spices, and sauteed. It's a semi-involved operation, though.

                This isn't the same recipe I used, but it looks close: http://www.themahanandi.org/category/indian-vegetables/karela/

                Here's a bitter gourd curry recipe: http://food.sulekha.com/cuisine/keral...

                I think cooking decreases the bitterness, actually.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cimui
                  Pei Jul 9, 2009 04:51 PM

                  There's a Taiwanese preparation which comes to mind as well. The melon is sliced in half lengthwise, and the seeds are scooped out. Then each side is poached until just barely cooked, then immediately immersed in a bowl of iced water. Then the pieces are sliced into half circles about three quarters of an inch thick, and served as a cold side dish with a bowl of soy paste as a dipping sauce. The poaching/blanching takes the edge off the bitterness while allowing the melon to maintain some flavor.

                  1. re: Pei
                    c
                    cimui Jul 9, 2009 06:12 PM

                    That sounds good! My mom used to make us something that was a cross between your dish and theSauce's dish. The bitter gourd was blanched (or steamed possibly? it was on the softer side, with just a little bit of crunch) and lightly dressed with vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce.... There may've been a wee bit of sugar in that mix, too. Great summery dish.

                  2. re: cimui
                    rworange Jul 9, 2009 06:19 PM

                    Well, I posted that three years ago.

                    However, I'm glad someone resurrected this post. There were some very lovely bitter melons at the farmers market last week, so this gives me reason to buy a few and try some of these suggestions.

                    1. re: rworange
                      c
                      cimui Jul 9, 2009 06:25 PM

                      Oops. This (reformulated?) Chowhound search function is really quite exciting. You never know what's going to come back from the dead... or in what form.... only that it wants new Chowhound blood.... Muahahaha.

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