|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10g||12%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 9g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 52mg||258%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Bitter melon is a gourd originating from India that was introduced into China during the 14th century. It has since become a commonly-used vegetable in Chinese households and is as popular now as it was a few hundred years ago.
Bitter melon tastes bitter just as the name suggests. The texture can be either crunchy or soft, depending on how you prepare it. In Chinese culture it’s believed eating bitter melon can help reduce blood sugar, and scientific studies seem to bear this out.
This recipe is a simple stir-fry with a garlic, chili flake, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and sesame oil sauce. A little sugar helps combat the bitterness. There are also plenty of variations on bitter melon stir-fries, like adding dried shrimp or pork. Serve as a side dish for pork, chicken, or seafood alongside rice or noodles.
1 pound bitter melon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons oil (for stir-frying)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Bitter Melon Stir-Fry
Gather the ingredients.
To prepare the bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise.
Remove the seeds using a small metal spoon.
Cut on the diagonal into thin slices.
Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, mash the minced garlic and chili pepper flakes together.
Heat wok over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture.
Stir-fry briefly until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the soy sauce and red wine vinegar or balsamic.
Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften.
Stir in a few drops of sesame oil if desired and serve.
- There are different varieties of bitter melon. While those in China are green, those grown and used in Taiwan are white. Taiwanese bitter melons tend to be softer in texture and more bitter in flavor.
- The skin of the bitter melon is edible, so don't worry about peeling it while prepping.
- This recipe calls for red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar for a bit more “bite.” But if you have a good Chinese rice wine vinegar, feel free to substitute it.
- Bitter melon also pairs nicely with pork for a quick stir-fry, a main dish, or with black bean sauce.
- Try cooking bitter melon with dried shrimp for a flavorful side dish.
Joseph B, Jini D. Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2013;3(2):93-102. doi:10.1016/S2222-1808(13)60052-3