02 August 2009
Above is a bitter melon that I purchased on a whim at the farmer's market. The most basic way too cook one seemed the Okinawan stir-fry gōyā chanpurū (it made sense to keep it simple to highlight its flavor).
Cutting the melon open, it has a spongy core and hard seeds that look like pumpkin seeds embedded therein. It smelled like a random plant that you pull up, smell and remember why only certain plants are edible. A strong, fresh, chlorophyll smell. I scraped out the spongy center. It tasted incredibly bitter, very green.
I salted the sliced bitter melon and then washed it a few times. I sautéed them in hot oil and then added tofu, mirin and shoyu. It remained firm and crunchy despite being cooked well, thus muting the bitterness. The pressed tofu was a rich foil for the bitter vegetable. Very very good.