I think I have always loved bitter foods. I eat grapefruit and dark chocolate at least weekly (more so the dark chocolate than grapefruit), and I like the bite of bitterness.
Bitter melon is just that, very bitter. It is definitely an acquired taste, and is not something that everyone will enjoy. But if you are interested in trying new things, I would give bitter melon a chance! I bought four smallish melons at the farmer’s market for one dollar, so it’s not much of an investment if you don’t end up liking it. According to the vendor at the farmer’s market, the white variety is much less bitter than the green. I also read that parboiling the vegetable before using in a recipe can cut down on the bitterness.
I used the Chinese variety in this recipe, because that is what I ate growing up. My grandma would most often saute the melon slices in eggs and soy sauce, like in this recipe. We would either eat it over rice, or just plain. I took some pictures of the final dish, but they really don’t look too appetizing. So instead of posting them, I am sharing photos of the cutting and pith removal process which will hopefully be helpful for people who are new to the vegetable.
Chinese Bitter Melon with Eggs
serves 4 (side dish)
2 medium bitter melon
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp and 1 tsp of soy sauce
Cut the melon in half lengthwise. Remove the pith and seeds. Slice the melon into crescents about 1/8 in thick.
Saute the melon on medium heat with the oil for 5 minutes.
Scramble the eggs with soy sauce. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Stir and flip the mixture until the eggs are cooked (3-5 minutes). Serve over rice or on it’s own!