Bitter Melon (Gourd) – 2 ways

Last weekend I re-acquainted with my least favourite childhood vegetable – bitter melon.  I was shopping at Harris Farm Market looking for green chilli and there it was….calling my name. I thought why not give bitter melon another chance. Plus I reckon it would make an interesting blog post especially for those who are curious about this.

I find bitter melons a little hit and miss. Sometimes I got the really bitter ones that reminded me what I dislike it in the first place and sometimes the bitterness is so subtle that it is negligible.  Applying the similar method to reduce bitterness in eggplant, you can add salt to the bitter melon slices, wait for 10 minutes or so and squeeze the juice out. Just so you know that even with squeezing out the juices, the bitterness won’t be eliminated completely. (My mum has recommended that to get less bitter ones, pick the ones that have bigger bumps i.e. the width of bumps is bigger.)

Below are the two ways on how I cooked my bitter melon. I bought a small one, weighing about 200g / 7 ounces. I halved it and cooked 2 dishes with each half.  If you are not too sure whether you will like this, a small bitter melon will go a long way. Trust me. 🙂

Bitter Melon Omelette – based on my childhood memory

(Feed about 2 people as a side dish with rice)

What you’ll need:-

  • Cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g/ 3.5 ounces bitter melon, thinly sliced – see Note 1
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • salt to taste ( I added about 1/2 tsp)
  • White pepper

Note 1: For this dish, I did not salt the bitter melon prior cooking. If you are concern with the bitterness, mix the bitter melon slices with 1 tsp of salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then squeeze the juices out before making the omelette. You may want to reduce the salt in the omelette if you salt the bitter melon.

(1) Thinly sliced onion and bitter melon. Salt the bitter melon should you wish to. (2) In a medium sized non-sticked pan over medium heat, heat a tbsp of cooking oil and wait until the oil is hot. Add sliced onions and bitter melon (if you salt the bitter melon slices, you should squeeze the juices out before adding with the onion) and saute until the onion is translucent and bitter melon slices are soften.  While waiting for the onion and bitter melon to cook, beat egg with salt to taste and white pepper. (3) Add beaten egg and cook over low heat.  (4)When the omelette looks like 70% cooked, flip the omelette to cook the other side. You don’t have to flip the whole omelette at a time. What I’ve done was to flip it in 3 sections. Serve immediately with rice and other side dishes.

Spiced Bitter Melon

(A really small side dish – makes about 1/2 cup)

What you’ll need:-

  • Cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g/ 3.5 ounces bitter melon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves as garnish

(1) Add sliced bitter melon, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric into a bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then squeeze the juices out. Set aside. (2) Thinly slice onion. (3) Add oil and onion into a small non-stick pan and saute over medium flame until golden brown. (4) Add 1 tsp of ground cumin and a pinch chilli to the onion. If the mixture is a little dry, add a little bit more oil. Saute until aromatic over low heat. (5) Add bitter melon and mix well with the onion mixture. Cook with a lid on over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes. (6) Check for taste if more salt is necessary. Then add sugar and saute until the mixture does not feel grainy. Serve immediately with some chopped fresh coriander leaves as garnish.

Meatless Recipes, Vegetables. permalink.

2 thoughts on “Bitter Melon (Gourd) – 2 ways

  1. I actually love bitter melon. I knew it from my childhood, but when I moved to China for four years, it was suddenly everywhere. I especially love bitter melon with scrambled eggs (as in your recipe)! Alas, my husband can’t stand the stuff so it’s a pretty hearty portion for one person!

  2. I’ve never tried bitter melon and always give it a sideways glance in the supermarket as it looks like a cucumber with bad acne. I’d like to try it one day…your omlette looks really tasty.

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