At first glance, a bitter gourd, or bitter melon, just looks like some kind of mutated cucumber. Unfortunately, it continues looking like that even after two, three, and four glances, which may be a bit off-putting if you haven’t yet experimented with this lesser-known member of the squash family. Even more off-putting may be the bitter, alkaline flavor of the gourd (at least the name is transparent), which is used perhaps most frequently in South Asian dishes. But physical appearance and strong taste aside, the bitter gourd’s extensive health benefits – like boosting your immune system, combatting blood disorders and purifying the blood, improving digestion and bladder function, and improving skin and hair health, just to name a few – might be well-worth including it in your diet, even if it does take a little bit of getting used to. Try one of these recipes to get you started!
Japanese Bitter Gourd Salad
Salting and blanching bitter gourd before eating it helps strip the vegetable of a bit of its harsh flavor, while accompaniments like sweet tomato and fresh mint help further balance out the taste of this salad overall. Plus, the addition of ingredients like bonito flakes and kelp give the salad an even bigger nutritional upgrade by contributing to the salad’s energy-boosting, muscle-aiding, skin-improving benefits.
Get the full recipe from Peckish Bites.
Bitter Gourd Juice
If you’re already on the juicing bandwagon, you don’t need much convincing about the benefits of juicing in general, like helping you better reap the benefits of digestive enzymes in fruits and vegetables. Of course, a juice is only as good as its ingredients, and the addition of benefit-packed ingredients like turmeric, ginger, and lemon juice in this bitter gourd juice make it an immune-boosting nutritional powerhouse.
Get the full recipe from Archana’s Kitchen.
Bitter Gourd and Fenugreek Salad
In addition to serving as your first encounter with bitter gourd, this salad might offer an introduction to fenugreek as well, a plant that looks a lot like a three-leaf clover. But like bitter gourd, the health benefits of this leafy green, like reducing cholesterol or keeping your blood sugar levels in check, make it worth stocking in your pantry.
Get the full recipe from Vegaprocity.
Bitter Gourd and Black Bean Scramble
This scrambled egg recipe pairs bitter gourd with black beans and eggs to create a dish that is seriously packed with protein. Plus, this recipe comes with a handy trick: to pick a bitter gourd that isn’t quite so bitter, go for one that’s lighter in color. This will give you a more mellow flavor compared to dark green gourds.
Get the full recipe from Noob Cook.