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Chapter: Vegetable Recipes
Section: Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd)
Recipe: Cooking Bitter Melon

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Cooking Bitter Melon
Cut Bitter Melon in half and discard the seeds and fibrous core. To reduce
the bitterness, blanch it in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. This
vegetable is not typically peeled and the skin is edible. The seeds are
also edible, though they are very hard. They are included in some recipes.
Bitter melon is commonly stuffed, curried or pickled, though it can be
prepared in all kinds of ways and is suitable for any dish from drinks to
dessert. It is often used stir-frys and soups and may be steamed. It's
flavor combines well with other strong flavors or ingredients such as
garlic, chili peppers, and coconut milk.

Q: This melon is so bitter! How can I reduce its strong bitter flavor?

A: Bitter Melon is a challenging culinary item, to be sure. But while
challenging, it is not impossible to find exciting ways to incorporate it
into various cuisine styles. Here are some hints for preparing the gourd to
reduce its bitter flavor:

1. Like eggplant, Bitter Melon can be salted and rested to remove the
bitterness from its flesh. Core the melon, dust it generously with salt and
let it rest for 10 minutes. Rinse the slices and prepare as you wish.

2. Another way to reduce the bitter melon's strong flavor is by blanching.
You do this by coring it, slicing, and boiling in a pan of lightly salted
water. After 1 minute, remove and drop in ice water. Blanching will not
only remove some of the bitterness; it will also brighten the beautiful
green color!

A suggestion when developing your own recipe is to consider is that bitter
melon is an excellent ingredient to use with strong flavors: spices, rich
sauces, fermented flavors. With spicy foods, bitter melon acts as a
coolant, with rich sauces such as coconut milk and curry, the flavor
balances the natural oils in these other ingredients acting as a palette

Some popular ways of cooking it is to stuff the melon with spiced meats and
serve with a coconut curry sauce, sauté it with onion, red pepper and
prepare with scrambled eggs or in an omelet, or as a stir fry with chicken.

From: The National Bitter Melon Council
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Sommai Larkjit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 10074623