Yesterday the homeowner at the veggie plot gave me some bitter melon. She gave me some hints on how to cook it, so I decide to try it for lunch today.
They look a bit like what I would imagine a dragon's tail would look like.
To reduce the bitterness I was told to cut them up, remove the seeds, salt them, rinse and drain. So I started cutting it up. Holy cow! She didn't tell me it would look like an open wound!
I started digging out the seeds but finally just split it length-wise and scooped them out. This one was the only one that was ripe enough to have turned red. Still a little warning would have been nice.
A bit of salt and into the colandar to drain. Meanwhile I minced some garlic (3 cloves), a little ginger, and a medium hot red chile. Then I sliced up a couple small onions. I decided to use turmeric and cumin for spices.
I put about 2 tbs of oil into a pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of mustard seed. When they start to pop, add the garlic and ginger.
Cook for a few minutes. add the onion and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that.
Add the cumin and turmeric (1/2 teaspoon each).
Stir and cook another 5 minutes.
After rinsing and squeezing out the bitter melon, add it to the pan.
I needed some moisture to steam/cook the melon. I had some tomatoes that were prepped for but did not make it into the canner, so I added a few of them, as well as some of the juice.
Cover and simmer over medium heat until bitter melon is tender, about 10 minutes.
It's all a bit soft, so for contrast I threw in a couple handfuls of unsalted whole cashews.
Time to eat. I served it with rice and some pickled green chilies.
It was bitter as described and I suppose it is an acquired taste. I liked it and would have it again, my dear wife? Not so much.
Not everyone likes dragon tail.
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!
The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog http://amidwestgarden.blogspot.com/
Cooking blog http://ihopeyouarehungry.blogspot.com/
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