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B is for Bitter Melons

Updated on May 14, 2013

The Truth About Bitter Melons

Not all people would love Bitter Melons because of it's very dominant bitter taste no matter what you do with it. I'm not a fan either. It is commonly found in various Asian cuisine though it is seldom mixed with other vegetables but can be moderated by salting and washing before cooking.

Its place of origin is still undetermined other than its a native of the Tropics. As well it has a good medicinal uses to fight cough, malaria and diabetes. It belongs to the subtropical vine family of Cucurbitaceae because of its edible fruit among all the bitter vegetables.

Newly Harvested Bitter Melons aka Ampalaya

Photo Courtesy of melbinux is still inactive

Bitter Melon / Gourd (also known as Momordica Charantia) is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown for edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all vegetables.

English names for the plant and its fruit include bitter melon or bitter gourd (translated from Chinese: pinyin:kugua,) ampalaya from the Philippines, goya from Japanese, and karela from the Punjabi, Hindi-Urdu, Nepali name of the vegetable. South American and Caribbean names include Balsamino and Saraseed.

The original home of the species is not known, other than that it is a native of the tropics. It is widely grown in South and Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean.

read the rest of the wikipedia article...

How to Grow Bitter Melon (Ampalaya)

Bitter Melon/Ampalaya is one of the vegetables you need to plant in your farm or garden. Aside from being a good source of vitamins and minerals, it is also a good source of income because it has a ready market. Almost all the parts of this plant are useful. Its fruits and leaves--and sometimes its stalks--can be sold.

Apply just enough water to keep the soil moist--not too wet but not too dry. Do not over water your ampalaya plants since, as stated earlier, they cannot bear too much moisture.

The ampalaya vine is found everywhere in the country for it grows on different kinds of soils. However, for best result, plant it on a well-drained, sandy-loam or clay-loam soil which is rich in organic matter. Do not plant ampalaya in wet areas because it cannot tolerate too much moisture. You can grow ampalaya any time of the year as long as there is sufficient moisture.


Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, International Manual

How To Lessen the Bitter Taste of Ampalaya

First, trim the ampalaya by cutting off both ends. Cut in half lengthwise. With a sturdy spoon, scape off the seeds and membranes. Cut into 1/4 inch slices, or thinner if you can manage it.

Place the sliced ampalaya in a bowl and sprinkle generously with salt.

Toss to coat every piece of ampalaya with salt. Leave for at least 30 minutes. Squeeze out the juices, rinse and drain. Use in your preferred ampalaya dish.

Bitter Melons / Ampalaya Recipes

Sauteed Bitter Gourd Recipe

This recipe is another one of my personal favorite Ampalaya dish. Just see to it that your Ampalaya's are properly washed to lessen its bitter taste. When its all done, you can start now on your cooking!


1 large or 2 medium-sized ampalaya (trimmed, cut and prepped)

2 eggs

2 tbsps. of dried shrimps

4 cloves of garlic

1 onion

2 tomatoes

2 to 3 tbsps. of cooking oil



Cooking Instructions

Crush, peel and chop the garlic. Roughly chop the onion and tomatoes. Beat the eggs. Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Add the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until they start to soften.

Add the ampalaya and dried shrimps to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir. Pour in about 1/3 cup of water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the water had evaporated and the ampalaya is cooked through.

Turn up the heat to medium high and pour in the beaten eggs. DO NOT disturb for about 15 seconds to allow the eggs to partially set.

Stir lightly and continue cooking until the eggs are fully cooked.

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    • Aster56 profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice information on bitter melon , In India it is cooked as curry and fry.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 

      7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens with great information. My wife makes all the meals you mentioned, plus more. I'm not extremely wild about bitter melon, but I've come to be comfortable with its taste. I guess it's an acquired taste. :-)

    • Krafick profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the wonderful write-up about bitter melon, recipes, and its health benefits. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Any suggestions on where to buy Philippine bitter melon seeds in the USA?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I never knew that bitter melon was so good for our health even though i hate the taste!

      Please visit my site:

      Palawan Hotels | Palawan Butterfly Garden | Palawan Underground River | Puerto Princesa

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Never heard of the bitter melon before. Now I'm intrigued!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Greetings from the National Bitter Melon Council, a vegetable promotion board for Bitter Melon located in Boston, MA. Great site!! We're always excited to see more people who are enthusiastic about this bitter gourd. Better living through Bitter Melon!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i need a quick affordable recipe for ampalaya chips!!!! asap!!!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i have a plant that looks like bitter melon plant

      but the fruits are rounded and turn orange in colour when ripe as for the size it can be as big as a grape fruit

      the seeds are brow and coverd with a red flech

      in chinese i said they cald them lailaigua difrent then kugua name???

      can it be a causin of kua gua

    • GramaBarb profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver

      Learned something new this morning - great lens! I have never heard of bitter melon.


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