Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bitter is The Mighty Melon

- Name: "The Mighty" Bitter Melon
(born Momordica Charantia - Let's face it, who's gonna remember THAT? Not sexy)
- Costume: Wrinkly warty pebbly green costume when young, with patches of warm yellow when older (no cape)
- Family background/problems: (who doesn't have one these days?) deep down, always envies his popular relatives: squash, watermelon & cucumber
- Physical appearance: a bit chubby on top, but slim at the bottom, looks intimidating, scary, even

- Character: as the name suggested, he is BITTER. It makes him a less popular super hero, compared to...let's say...Banana the Sweet. But once you get to know him...he is too a sweet and caring super hero. He is more powerful when young, turns even more bitter when he gets older
- Inner beauty: juicy, colorful flesh, fluffy cottony pith, seeds which get vibrant red & sweet as he gets older

- Super hero powers:
1.Fights the scariest of scary chronic diseases
> Reduces blood sugar, improves one's body's capabilities to produce insulin, thus fights DIABETES
> A potent inhibitor of HIV activity & AIDS virus without the toxic effects
> Its crude extract carries anti-cancer properties
2. Fights viral infections
3. Improves digestion
4. A good source of iron, calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin B

- Wow factor: WOW WOW WOW!

Learn to love The Mighty Bitter Melon, try this:
Beef and Bitter Melon Stir Fry with Black Beans
(serves 4)
- 2 bitter melons
- HK$30 beef (about 1.5 lbs)
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 red chillies, finaly chopped
- 1-2 tbsp fermented black beans
- 2 tsp corn starch (1 for marinate, 1 for sauce thickening)
- soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock (natural/powder/cubes: optional), sesame oil (optional), salt, pepper, olive oil

Handling Bitter Melon
- Wash the outer part
- Cut in half
- Scoop out the pith and seeds using a spoon (unless you want to use them for salad or other things)
- Do not remove skin
- For stir frying, slice 'em thinly (around 3 mm)
- Pour salt over them, leave it for around 5-10 minutes
- Using a strainer, drain the bitter juice

Marinate beef in soy sauce, sugar, a bit of olive oil/sesame oil, 1 tbsp corn starch. In a hot wok with a bit of olive oil, saute some garlic and chilli, add the bitter melon slices, add some black beans until the bitter melon softened a bit, set aside. Don't wash your wok, just clean it briefly with a paper towel, add a bit of olive oil, saute the remaining of garlic and chilli, add beef, add more black beans, saute until almost done, add the bitter melon, adjust taste by adding soy sauce/sugar/pepper/chicken stock when necessary. If you'd like to thicken the sauce, mix 1 tsp corn starch with 3 tbsp cold water add a dash of sesame oil, make a well in the middle of wok, pour the corn starch mix, stir well, serve with steamed rice.

Now I can say I had dinner with a super hero last night, with a pinch of bitterness ^_^
How about you?

This will be shared with the
Weekend Herb Blogging Crowd, hosted by Coffee & Vanilla this week.


Kalyn Denny said...

Love your funny write-up! This is a vegetable I haven't eaten yet. I don't think I've even seen it here.

daphne said...

hehe. I was told that if there are less wrinkles on the skin surface, it is less bitter! I love bittergourd! Love the texture...even more so with yong tou fu!

Elsye said...

Rit....penggemar pare juga yak..;D...aku kalo makan pake ditumis juga..hihihihi..endang yoo

Susan @ SGCC said...

Very cute post! The stir fry looks great. I haven't ever seen bitter melon here. Does it have another name?

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Interesting melon, I've never heard of it or seen any dish like it! I don't think that exists over here. What a great unique post!

- The Peanut Butter Boy

Peter M said...

Rita, I see this staring at me when I'm in the Asian market, taunting me with "buy me, buy me" whimpers.

You've helped demystify it and I'm gonna try it soon.

A.G said...

Jeng Rit... pare ditumis karo teri wenak meneh...aku pernah gæ tumis pare sek gedene sak rujak polo ampe 4 ndino lho..tak eman-2 ...makan siang malem ...

paling seneng nek gæ brunch ( jarang BF aku ) karo sego anget iso mpek mele-mele ngono wkwkwkkwk lali gæ dinner

Anonymous said...

Oh love it, love it! Ever tried bittergourd juice? It's something different, fer sure...

Wibowo Kosasih said...

O ... Pare is Bitter Melon ...
This is my favorite Chinese Indonesian Dish ...
Masakin Pete dong ... hehehe ...
AKu rasa pete itu exotic buat orang barat kali.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, I have tried to like bitter melon. I swear I have and haven't had luck yet. Shall I try again? Your description is so enticing! :)

SIG said...

You know what? When I was young, I wouldn't go near bitter gourd, but now that I am much older, I do like it.

SIG said...

By the way, love your header. I didn't realize that my background colour is similar to yours too. I attended a kiddy bday party last Saturday and we had lovely Indonesian food, and they served Teh Botol! It was princess' classmate's party and they are from Indo.

Big Boys Oven said...

this is gorgeous dish, I love bittergourd!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I love learning new things. I also like the 'underdogs' of the culinary world so this sounds like something I'd love to try!! the recipe sounds really good. what is it's taste closest to? anything?

Salt N Turmeric said...

yup. bitter yet very good for ur health. and 1 of those thing tht i like to eat but dont know how to cook. lol.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Bitter melon!It looks so cool! I will have to look for it at thegrocery store!

test it comm said...

I actually just saw some bitter melon at the store for the first time. I will have to pick some up to try. That bitter melon and steak dish looks really good.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, i thought you were doing a profile on me when you were really talking about a melon...

Err...Do i look like a melon...? That's what you're trying to say?!!.. Geesh! i'm offended! ;-)

Anonymous said...

What an unique vegetable? Nice blog, and great pictures. I love the name.

tigerfish said...

I like bitter melon, but usually do it with pork.

Unknown said...

hi kalyn, nick & susan...thanks! it is also known as bitter gourd ^_^ try the nearest asian grocery shop?

hi daph...i read that choose the younger, greener ones...and squeeze all of the bitter juice out of it ^_^ i love it with indonesian siomay bandung too! ;)

hi elsye, dulu padahal aku benci loh, sekarang suka hehe

hi peter...yeah! you have to try the super powers...they are still calling out to you..."buy me...buy me..."

yin, aku yo gelem terine hehehe gorengke yooo hehe

hi kenny, i tried bitter gourd juice in taiwan...sadly...i didnt enjoy it T_T hohohoho i love winter melon tea more

hi benny...sayangnya aku tuh nda doyan pete hiks hiks hiks hehe

hi susan...just make the dish tasty & spicy...u'll grow to love this amazing melon

singairish girl, me too! i used to absolutely hate it...now i loveeee it...goshhh i can drink teh botol every day every day!

big boys oven! glad you like it ^_^

hi amy, the melon is juicy, it has a nice crunch, very refreshing, and it is yes...bitter...but somehow goes perfectly with fermented black beans..^_^

hi s&t, once you know how..it is quite easy to prepare...try try?

jessy and kevin, gogogo! experiment away! i am sure you'll have new brilliant ideas on how to cook this super hero melon

zen chef! one day i will really write a post about you, titled...

yo cupcake lady, yes unique vegetable indeed ^_^

hi tigerfish..yeah you can have it with any meat of your choice ohoho

KC said...

Helps lower the blood pressure too! I also loved your write-up! Your style is unique!

Indonesia Eats said...

labu siam doyan, paria doyan.. sing gak doyan opo yahh?

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Very interesting post, thank you for your entry!