A few weeks ago I mentioned that there wouldn’t be any more melon on our 52-week Challenge. Yet I bring you this.
But it’s not really a melon, more like the most bitter cucumber you could possibly imagine. One of those foods where you taste it and wonder “did the first people who ate this food think they might die?” Because we weren’t completely sure if we were dealing with a vegetable or poison.
I did do my research, and know that most people cook bitter melon into heavily-seasoned dishes like stews, but there were some people eating it raw. So we gave it a chance…and paid the price. I was tempted to drink a Clorox chaser after eating it. Anything to wash the taste out of my mouth.
ME: This one is called a….sour melon? A bitter melon.
ME: What does it smell like?
ME: Let me smell it….it smells a little bit like cucumber to me.
ME: What does it look like?
LAUREN: A curly corn. A really curly piece of corn. And it looks like a roly poly but it’s a little bit green. One more thing….it looks like spinach.
ME: Emma what does it look like?
EMMA: It looks like meat.
ME: That’s actually a good description, it looks like squirrely raw meat.
ME: Sam, what does it look like?
SAM: Um, old beef.
ME: What does it smell like?
ME: Can something actually smell sour?
ME: Are you guys ready to taste it? Let’s cut open the middle.
LAUREN: Can I have one piece?
ME: Sure, here you go.
LAUREN: SOUR! SOUR! I have to rinse my mouth.
EMMA: Ugh, it bit me!
ME: I want everyone to try a tiny little piece, here, Sam, here you go.
EMMA: I DON’T LIKE IT.
(Others are speechless)
ME: Whoooooooo…..Oh my God. It tastes like SOAP. Oh my gosh it takes like soap. This is so incredibly bitter.
(Others are spitting it out and washing their mouths out).
ME: Guys, should we get a bitter melon again?
ME: Was it fun? Was it a taste adventure?
ME: Was it poisonous?
(All of them): Yes.
Great reactions. Don’t see bitter melon in my future.
I don’t recommend it, but worth it for the adventure alone.
I literally laughed out loud when I read “it bit me!”…
I was still laughing at the end.
In Japan, the only way I’d eat this (out, not at home) was when it was battered & fried. Think tempura. It’s very good that way & basically no taste but fried (if fried had a taste).
Good on you for getting your kids to taste it though! 😉
They were total troupers, can’t believe anyone tried it after the first reaction. I love the concept of eating it fried– I can’t believe that there was no taste though. It was so strong…I need to hear more about all of the interesting food you ate in Japan, you’ll need to do a post on it 🙂
Oh you’re right! I should do a post of my culinary world travels! 😉
Check out one ov Indonesian recipe for it. I promise it will turn out delish! http://indonesiaeats.com/stir-fry-bittermelon-anchovies-tauco-tumis-pare-teri-bumbu-tauco/
Frozen anchovies baked or fried….I like where this is heading. Sounds pretty adventurous, but I just might give it a try, will keep you posted if I do. Thanks for sending the recipe through.
If I think it is what it is, its called a bitter gourd in India. കയ്പക്ക (Kaypakka) in Malayalam or Karela in Hindi. Its a very commonly used vegetable in India. I guess its good for Indian style cooking with a lot of spices and oil that it drowns out the bitterness.
It is supposed to have a lot of medicinal properties and supposedly good for diabetes !