Bitter melon stacked together.
What Is Bitter Melon And How Do You Cook It?

Bitter melon is a tropical and subtropical plant that is native to large areas of Asia and Africa and is grown commercially for food in China, Taiwan, and throughout Southeast Asia.

There are two main varieties. One is the Indian bitter melon, Kerala, recognized by its oblong shape and dark green flesh covered in spiky bumps.

The other is the Chinese bitter gourd, as it is sometimes called. It is longer and thinner, with a light green skin that is smooth with folds and furrows.

Bitter melon has a strong, bitter flavor that can make one's mouth dry just from tasting it. The fruit doesn’t grow sweeter as it ripens and will remain bitter.

The bitter melon can be cut in half lengthwise or into hollow circles for stuffing, sliced into half-moons for stir-frying, or chopped into thick sticks for deep-frying.

There are two well-known tips when cooking bitter melon: the first is to use salt to draw out the bitterness, and the second method is to blanch the melon.