Unless you know about this you might be tempted to say, "Sweet". It does look like a light pastry filled with luscious juicy cherries. But, alas, not so sweet.
In fact, bitter. Way! It's an overripe bitter melon. Usually you eat bitter melon when it is green, even white and very immature. And, they don't call it bitter melon for nothing. It is so. Deliciously so.
Our observation is that most folks in the America do not eat as much bitter and sour foods as they do sweet and salty. Of the four core tastes, bitter is the one mostly set aside. Just a poll of one, but we'll be betting it's pretty close to the case.
Anyhow, there are two types of bitter melon: the Chinese and Indian varieties. Here they are, the Chinese type with a smooth skin and juicier flesh on top of the Indian type.
So, sir Cat, which one should we buy? Mostly you'll see the Chinese bitter melon, certainly at Chinese stores. It's also showing up in more progressive supermarkets. The Indian variety is mostly still found in stores catering to Indian culinary tastes. That's a fancy way of saying Indian stores. You like?
The Chinese variety is slightly less bitter. That would be an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10; where 10 is pucker up! The flesh of the Indian type is slightly more dense. So, which one? Both!
Recipe Ideas: The Chinese has more moisture in its flesh and lends itself to a stir fry, such as shrimp with thinly sliced bitter melon (garlic, ginger, tamari, Shaoxing wine). The Indian bitter melon, being denser, makes a great braised dish with onions, tomatoes, small hot chili, and Indian spicings (cumin, fenugreek, coriander seeds, yellow mustard seeds, turmeric). Both those dishes, please to garnish with fresh coriander leaves and some slivered fresh scallion.
That was just a Cooky Cat top line. There a plenty of alternatives out there in the Cloud.
When you go shopping for bitter melon, ask about it with the shop keeper or a customer who looks like they would have ethnic history with bitter melon. 100% of the time you will hear them tell about the benefits of bitter melon, most likely about lowering blood sugar; the word diabetes will be mentioned.
Shopping at an Indian food store recently a lady asked if we "juiced" the bitter melon. Hadn't thought of that, but it would make for a good tonic.
Now, we're thinking that if in fact Americans do not eat a sufficient portion of bitter foods in their diet, perhaps that is somehow linked to diabetes? Or, its prevention? Just saying.