Bitter Melon Recipes

Bitter Melon (also known as bitter gourd, bitter squash and balsam-pear) is a sour squash that is a great addition to stir fries and soups. Give bitter melon a try with one of these 10 recipes.

Staff Picks

Pinakbet

Rating: Unrated
17
This is a vegetable dish from the Philippines that can be served as an everyday dish or when you have company. Since it also contains pork and prawns, you can eat it as a one-pot meal.

Bitter Melon and Black Bean Sauce Beef

Rating: Unrated
4
A classic Chinese dish that can be made with chicken instead of beef. If chicken is used, cooking time will be more depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces.

Minh-ai's Bitter Melon Soup

Rating: Unrated
4
A Vietnamese-style pork and bitter melon recipe my friend Minh-ai N. taught me to make. It's a homey dish popular in Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. Its unusual bitter flavor is on par with strong, unsweetened tea. Serve immediately or refrigerate soup for 24 hours. The soup's bitter flavor will mellow with a day's refrigeration. Serve hot, ladled over bowls of steamed white rice.

Bitter Melon and Brinjal (Eggplant) Relish

This Filipino vegetable relish is a good side dish for any meal.

Bitter Melon Stir-Fry

Rating: Unrated
1
This is a favorite Filipino vegetable dish, although the slightly bitter taste of bitter melon needs a lot of getting used to. Cooking it this way lightens the bitter taste.

Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon

This is a classic Chinese dish. Bitter melon is stuffed with a delicious mixture of minced pork, then pan-fried and simmered with a garlic and black bean sauce. Serve with freshly cooked rice.

Filipino Fish Stew (Paksiw na Bangus)

Filipino bangus (milkfish) is cooked in vinegar with vegetables to make this delicious fish stew. Make ahead and serve with any meal.

Goya Champuru (Bitter Melon Stir Fry)

Rating: Unrated
2
This is a traditional Okinawan dish with Asian bitter melon. I was introduced to it during my time there. I've combined a few different recipes into this one here. You can also add Spam®; it's pretty popular on Okinawa. Please note that the bitter melon has a very different taste, but its very good once you get used to it. It's also ridiculously healthy.

Hearty Pumpkin Beef Soup

This is my one of my favorites soups to make. I do it my way, which is quick and easy but just as good.

South Indian Bitter Gourd Roast

I'm always looking for innovative ways to serve bitter gourd. I was just experimenting with my Indian spices one day and made this yummy dish. It is a great side for a number of South Indian rice dishes like rasam or sambar rice.

Beef Short Ribs Rice Bowl (Gyu Kalbi Don)

Japanese beef rice bowl using short ribs with bitter melon.

Ratatouille with Bitter Melon

This is a recipe for ratatouille cooked in a microwave pressure cooker. This is a vegetarian main or side dish and the delicious taste of this dish comes from the mixed vegetables. This is Okinawa-inspired as we've added bitter melon as one of the main ingredients. Bitter melon is one of the vegetables that makes Okinawa prefecture famous in Japan. Try this recipe at home and you'll be surprised how delicious it is.

Inspiration and Ideas

Bitter Melon Jelly with Sago

I had this dessert a number of years ago at a Chinese restaurant and it has taken me a while to perfect this recipe. This dessert is very different, and I would say people who do not have a very sweet tooth will love this Asian dessert.