Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 20, 2008 05:55 PM

what to do with bitter melon

My husband picked up some bitter melon at the farmers market. What do we do with it?

Many thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Without knowing which variety of Bitter Melon you have, it's a little difficult to suggest a recipe for you. I have heard there are many different kinds with unique qualities for each. if you do a search, there are a few threads with suggestions.

    The only way I have had Bitter melon and enjoyed it is the Chinese version served with Beef in a garlic black bean sauce. I would imagine it would work equally as well with chicken, pork or shrimp. The dish would be sauteed or as a quick stir fry. I would not recommend a soup.

    [edit] ....An additional thought.....I believe I have also had it stuffed smilar to peppers at Dim Sum Tea Lunches in Chinatown, two ways, If memory serves me, one was stuffed with a ground pork mixture with bamboo shoots, mushrooms and water chestnuts and the other with shrimp mousse.....cooked by steaming.

    Chinese Bitter Melon is not Bitter Gourd. View <Cheeseboy's> picture/avitar? In his April 18th, 2008 post

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      The usual Chinese way seems to be with beef stir fried in a black bean sauce. I have had it with chunks of chicken and sliced pork too but mostly it's beef.

    2. Be sure to scrape out the seeds and the initial layer of pith to moderate the bitterness. Once you do that, there are myriad perparations: Thinly sliced and stir-fried with scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes and garlic. Curried Indian-style (karela). Stir-fried with fermented black beans and and beef. Stuffed with pork and cooked in stock. My favorite preparation is seasoned with shrimp paste and cooked with eggplant, green beans, okra, squash, thinly sliced pork and a hint of ginger: all topped with crunchy pieces of deep-fried pork belly.

      1. Curse the farmer and throw it out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rochfood

          Curse the farmer or curse my husband? :-)

        2. I prepare it Indian style. It's good, but I won't post the recipe because you probably won't enjoy it because bitter melon is an acquired taste. In my experience, the successful recipes for bitter melon use aggressive seasonings to tame the vegetable's, well, bitterness. Indian spices, Chinese sauces, etc.

          1. Cut off the ends and scoop out the seeds. Then stuff it with ground pork mixed with scallions and ginger and a little soy sauce. Then slice the melon cross-wise so you get little round pieces with pork filling in the middle. Fry the slices (with pork mix in the middle) in a fry pan. This is the only way I can be made to eat bitter melon, and I'm supposed to be Chinese... =P

            1 Reply
            1. re: tinabeans

              Same stuffing prep but sub fish sauce for soy, and simmer in a chicken or pork broth till tender and serve as a soup. Add lots of pepper to the stuffing. Do not fry, just simmer raw in the broth. This is not a prep you eat a giant bowl of, just a few slices in broth. Freezes well. Just made a batch with a nice farmers market bitter melon last week.