Bitter Melon Salad

I grew up seeing my grandma eating fresh bitter melon salad, juice and bitter melon curry to control her diabetics. As it is in the name it is very bitter in taste. My mom would soak them overnight in coconut water and cook them with tamarind pulp and pinch of sugar to reduce bitterness. Memories of my mum’s delicious bitter melon curry is making me salivate as I’m writing about it.

There are different variety of bitter melons, dark green small ones, green long ones and light green long ones. Some of my Chinese friends like it just in a stir-fry dish with tofu. Small dark green one’s are much bitter compared to other two varieties. Hence I guess you could stir fry other two varieties i.e long green and light green ones. You can also find bitter melon juice in all fruit juice joints in Southeast Asia.

This vegetable is rich in iron and its calcium content is said to be twice that of spinach. Even the beta carotene content in bitter melon is double the amount nutrient in broccoli. It is also a rich source of potassium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, etc.

One of the most important health benefits of bitter melon is its blood sugar lowering properties. So, it is said to be best for diabetics. Bitter melon is also said to be beneficial for those with intestinal parasites. Other benefits of bitter melon is it is useful for cleansing blood, boosting immunity and balancing hormones.

This recipe is something I learnt from mom, when bitter melon is fried with salt and turmeric it’s crunchiness and savory taste overpowers its bitterness. It’s also a very popular side dish served with banana leaf meals in Malaysian Indian Restaurants.

Ingredients:
Serves 3-4

4 small darkgreen bitter melons, thinly sliced
200ml canola oil for deep frying
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric powder

For salad:
2 tbsp low fat yoghurt (optional)
2 red chilies, diced
Handful of curry leaves, diced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Method:

Mix thinly sliced bitter melon with salt and turmeric powder and leave it in a colander for few minutes.
Heat oil in a pan to deep fry, when oil hits smoking point, add bitter melon is batches and fry till its golden brown. Remove using slotted spoon, and leave it to dry in kitchen towels.

Add fried bitter melon and other salad ingredients into a ball, mix well with a wooden spoon. Serve with rice.

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