Bitter melon or ampalaya is one of those weird ones, you guys, but I grew up eating it.
Bitter melon is not my favorite thing to eat. In fact, it’s because of its health benefits that I endure its bitter flavor: they don’t call it “bitter” because of its jealousy and resentment. Some of its heath benefits include: lowering insulin (which benefits those with diabetes) and killing bacteria and viruses. It also helps keep the blood clean and improves blood flow which means, for a woman, less painful menstrual cramps. BONUS: My dad grows it in the garden. He’s growing two kinds this year: the darker one that I used in this recipe, and a lighter and longer one shown below.
Christie posted a recipe for pakbet using bitter melon. Today, I’m opting for a simple and raw recipe. I made this when I was visiting Christie and Brent over the weekend. Brent unfortunately could not try it because of an allergy, but I am happy to say that this is Christie-approved!
Bitter Melon Salad
1 bitter melon
1/2 onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
First, slice the bitter melon in half, lengthwise. Then, degut it. I used a teaspoon to scoop out the guts.
Slice up the melon, toss it into a bowl, and add 2-3 tbsp of salt. Then add cold water to the bowl and let it soak for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain and rinse the bitter melon. Toss it into another bowl with the tomato and onion, add salt to taste (I suggest at least a teaspoon), mix it up, and eat it!
I spotted some strawberries in the fridge while the bitter melon was soaking and came up with a wacky idea: bitter melon salad with strawberry and onion!
OMG what a wonderful combination and no salt required! It has this great sweet explosion followed by bitter followed by sweet and the onion ties it all together. YUM YUM YUM.
Don’t be afraid of bitter melon! It has awesome health benefits. Visit the National Bitter Melon Council to learn more. I expect that both Christie and I will offer up more bitter melon recipes. I know I have a lot more to say about the magical ampalaya. In the meantime, be on the lookout and try it if you find it. –Melissa
Bitter melon is definitely a great diuteric and anti-diabetic in addition to being delicious. Must try with strawberries!
One of my aunts recommended bitter melon and pineapple salad… must try!
I am not afraid of bitter melon! When ever I see it in the Asian grocery I wish I had a use for it. Now I do!
Yay! Let us know how it turns out if you try it 🙂
thanks for the insights your post gave me 🙂
[…] Bitter Melon Salad – This is a raw recipe that I usually make with tomato and onion, but I also modify it by using strawberry in place of tomato which results in a playful mixture of bitter and sweet flavors. […]
Thank you!! I just got a couple of bitter melons from a farmer’s market because I’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and I heard that bitter melon can help with that. Do you have to eat it every day . . . or just on a regular basis? When I saw your recipe, didn’t originally think to soak it in salt water to get rid of the bitterness. Will also try in scrambled eggs. Please keep the recipes coming!