Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Bitter melon, or Momordica Charantia, Karela, Bitter Gourd as it's known in other parts of the world is a definite plus for you to get to know how to work with it and more so how to cook. It's used in East African, Asian, South American, Caribbean and now thankfully, it's starting to gain recognition and popularity in North America. It's a great fruit to have on hand when it's in season.
Here are a few of the ways I like to work with it.
In curries, I like to to braise it in curry paste onion, spices and coconut milk or with some nice homemade curry powder, coconut oil, sea salt, spices, mint, tomatoes and peppers.
In stir-fries, I like to fry it with some nice Asian greens, peanuts, almonds or cashews and a teriyaki-style sauce, chilies and some toasted sesame seed oil.
In soups and stews I like to simmer it in cream or broth bases.
At times I like to combine my likes. I'll take the stir-fry and then while it's still in the pan/wok pour the hot broth over it, give it a quick simmer and plate it.
The great thing about bitter melon is its ability to stimulate digestion, it's immunomodulator properties, its bio active compounds called AMPK known for fuel metabolism and supporting glucose uptake and its insulin-like activity producing lectin that has a hypoglycemic reaction. Without going too far into the medicinal values of the melon, its inclusion in your regular eating plan has a lot of merit warranting more exploration.
I figure, if you can get something in your diet that tastes great, has numerous health supporting factors and that is extremely versatile... you should. It can only build your health, well being and wholeness.
I've given you some of my thoughts and suggestions, so I'll leave you with this one...
Think outside of the box when it comes to bitter melon. Consider stuffing and baking it, boiling it and or even frying it. If you fry, try coconut oil, it'll not only give you great flavor, it's a healthier oil for you with many benefits, including it ability to help fight against heart disease.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing these food ideas with you. Until next time...