Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon

A native of India, bitter melon can be stewed, curried, steamed, braised, pickled or cooked with scrambled eggs. Cooking tempers the bitterness, as does serving it with yogurt on the side. It's not for everyone, but many people who try bitter melon for the first time love the flavor. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of banana. Bitter melon is also used in Chinese cooking for its bitter flavor, typically in stir fries, soups, dim sum, and herbal teas.

One of the most loved dishes in northern India is stuffed bitter melon, called Bharwan Karela, though the recipe for each household is different. Sometimes the melon is peeled, and sometimes it is not. To prepare, slit the melon vertically, remove seeds, rub with salt and allow it to rest for 25 minutes. For the stuffing, spices, onions and a variety of fillings are fried. Rinse the melon and the bitterness will have been reduced by the salt. Carefully stuff the melon, tie with string and fry 3 - 4 minutes.

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