What is Bitter Melon?

Have you ever seen a warty looking cucumber in the supermarket or Chinatown and wondered what that was?

Bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd in some parts of the United States) is a gourd used in Chinese cuisine and known as “Foo Gwah," as well as being used for a variety of medicinal purposes. The taste is fairly bitter but pairs well with beef, pork and chicken. My favorite way to have  bitter melon is over a mound of steamed white rice.

Let me share a moment for preparing a bitter melon dish with you.

First the melon is cut into two inch segments then the orange seeds in the middle are scooped out. Next I put them into a colander for blanching. The ingredients I use are fresh ground pork, minced shrimp, diced mushrooms, diced green onions, chopped water chestnuts, and then wet and dry seasonings.

A generous spoonful of the filling will fill each piece of melon. When a plate is full, I top it off with a black bean garlic sauce. Now it goes into a large pot to steam with three other dishes that are separated with chopsticks. An original one pot kettle meal!

If you have a chance to taste this unusual dish please do so, though I bet you will either love it or hate it. At least you’ve tasted something new. This is truly an authentic Cantonese dish.