Today marks my second attempt to cook with bitter melon. I had previously bought one of these gourds a few weeks ago but didn’t get to cooking it fast enough and it began to putrefy. I guess that I really should have learned by now that I need to cook list vegetables as soon as I get them.
Anyway, at least this didn’t cost a lot of money… like if I’d bought myself caviar and let that go off. One of the reasons that I have yet to buy beluga caviar. That and the crippling expense. Seriously, I’m more likely to make it to Vietnam and sample elephant ear fish before I cross off both of the caviars.
Anyway. The book warned of the bitterness of the vegetable (with a name like ‘bitter melon’ it feels like this should go without saying) and that a way to counter this is to pre-salt the chopped gourd and squeeze the water out. Like when you are making courgette pancakes… or anything with courgette really.
So, I did that and followed this recipe to try and make the best of the bitter melon. What can I say, it’s bitter. So bitter that it felt like my mouth was under attack – similar to eating a chilli, but bitter instead of hot. The balsamic-soy dressing was a nice idea and the first bite was fine – it’s that aftertaste which makes this unpalatable.
I think I can categorically say that I don’t understand how something that tastes like this was able to find its way into a culture’s cuisine. Bitterness is an acquired taste, I know that, but this really is beyond the pale. I might have to re-evaluate my relationship with sprouts…