I am one of the ugliest fruits you have ever seen. My skin is covered with deep folds, ridges and wart-like bumps. If you say that beauty is just skin deep, you maybe wrong as I am very bitter inside. They call me bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter cucumber or bitter squash and my fancy name is rather nice: ‘ Momordica charantia’. I am also known by many other names: in Indonesia my name is ‘pare or paria’. In India they call me ‘karela’. In China I am known as ‘foo gwa’, while Japanese people name me ‘goya’ I know that many people especially kids hate and loath me, but strangely, I have quite a lot of admirers.
Those who love me say that I am bitterly delish, and a matter of fact I am also addictive. They say that I am good for eyesight and I can get rid of toxin in human blood and help the liver healthy. I am also believed to have many healing properties such as anticancer, antiviral, antimalarial, regulate blood sugar level, rich in antioxidant, vitamin A, C, folates, thiamin, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and dietary fibre.
Not bad at all for a thing as ugly as me! They say that I am very yummy to be stir-fried with a bit of meat of your fancy; pork, chicken, beef or you can also use prawns if you like….. Add some chopped onion and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, a bit of chilli and soy sauce. Don’t get rid of my ugly skin, but you have to scoop out my inner spongy part that is full of seeds. If you want less bitter taste, rub me with some salt and rinse well before cooking. I am a tasty companion for a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Oh yes, I am also nice for curry, soup or stuffed with meat or fish.