在去年十月份的 Basil Magazine 以烹饪材料 – 苦瓜/凉瓜 (bitter melon, bittergourd) 作为题材，借机会把这在美国较稀有的材料，介绍给更多的人。还好在华人居多的加州，要找到苦瓜/凉瓜不难，所以也自创了一个烤凉瓜食谱。
Bitter Melon, What a Melon! by Hui Leng Tay
We often see balanced diet in the light of different food groups or nutrition – carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals; or in the light of the ingredients themselves – vegetables, fruits, beans, dairy, meat, and seafood.
It is not often we see or hear them in the light of flavors and taste. The Six Tastes of Life (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) is in fact an Ayurvedic way of understanding a simple balanced diet, developed long before the food group pyramid or daily nutritional requirements table.
It is not hard to resist sweet, sour, salty food. Pungent? Think of onions, ginger, garlic, and chili – nothing too adventurous. How about…bitter? Among some of them such as rhubarb, spinach, arugula, Romaine lettuce; bitter melon might be the ultimate. It is an acquired taste. LOVE. OR. HATE.
Bitter melon is also known as bitter gourd and considered the most bitter of fruits. It is not a rare, hard-to-find ingredient anymore. In the US, they can be found in selected Whole Foods Market and even in the farmer’s markets.
In Asian cuisines, this fruit is often treated like a vegetable for culinary uses. It can be stir-fried, braised, fried and cooked in soups. Have you also heard that a natural and holistic home remedy to control diabetes is to drink bitter melon juice?
There is a neat trick to reduce the bitterness of bitter melon during food. Fill up a deep bowl with water and salt the water. Soak the sliced bitter melon in the salted water for about 10 minutes. This is a widely used kitchen tip used by many Asian cooks. The longer the bitter melon is soaked, the less bitter it will be, yielding a less bitter dish.
Remember! Give yourself 12 attempts on food you do not like – adults or kids alike. Hide it in other foods, cook it differently. Hopefully, this easy and tasty bitter melon vegetarian recipe is a good way to open up a variety of bitter melon dishes.