Bitter Melon // Momordica Charantia // Pickled Bitter Melon Filipino Vietnamese Fusion Salad

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September 11, 2017 by Living Girl Living Foods


One of my favorite goodies to juice, bitter melon, is a rather rare produce item to find in North American grocery stores. Also referred to as; bitter gourd, bitter squash, bitter apple, or balsam-pear, it is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Bitter melon is a fruit with a bumpy long rain drop texture, it is comparable to a cucumber and green bell pepper. It grows on vines and requires a large amount of space, it thrives in hot and humid conditions yet I can share that my best friends mother manages to grow these in abundance in New England.


When looking at this lumpy bumpy gourd it might seem challenging to prepare, I promise you it isn’t! The seeds are typically removed before cooking or using in a salad, I leave them in when I juice bitter melons. Each country that grows them has a slightly different look, texture, and bitterness. It is said the Chinese variation that is grown for longer isn’t as bitter. The fruit, leaves and melon grown are all edible.

In traditional medicine, bitter melon is used for a variety of aliments. Ulcers, gout, diabetes, wounds, respiratory diseases, cough, and fever reduction.

Bitter melon can assist with lowering ones blood sugar, weight loss, soothe digestion disorders, nourishes the liver which can reduce many skin conditions including acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Nutrition Facts via USDA 
Amount Per 1 Cup, Raw

Calories 16
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 5 mg 0%
Potassium 275 mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 3.4 g 1%
Dietary fiber 2.6 g 10%
Protein 0.9 g 1%
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 130%
Calcium 1% Iron 2%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 0%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 4%

Traditionally, bitter melons are prepared cooked. Either in a stew, soup, sautée style entrée or boiled. I did find some fusion variations where it is fermented, and found my inspiration from this style.

Pickled Bitter Melon Filipino Vietnamese Fusion Salad

Serves 1

Makes Roughly 2 cups

IMG_1643.jpgSalad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bitter melon (seeds removed then thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup radish (julienned, I did sliced in the photo for some reason haha)
  • 1/4 cup carrot (julienned)


Pickling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup or less, Coconut Sugar Crystals
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Aminos
  • Optional, 1 teaspoon chopped chili pepper


  1. Place all the ingredients in a jar with a screw-type cap. Shake until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. When you have made the pickling solution, pour it into the jar containing the vegetables. Allow to steep overnight. The vegetables taste better when allowed to steep longer.
  3. The pickled bitter melon salad is delicious as it is but there are a few ingredients to make it even better:
  4. Top the salad with fresh herbs for brighter flavors. Finely chopped scallions, torn basil, mint, sesame seeds, and cilantro are all delicious choices.

This is a combination of salty, bitter and hopefully a bit sweet with the use of carrots. Radish can add a kick and some nice spice, heat, to the dish. Make it your own! Add garlic, onion, your favorite speciality salt like a smoked salt, whatever you think works with a slightly pickled bitter concoction.


I can’t stress enough how much I adore bitter melon juiced, replace any juice recipe you have that needs cucumber for bitter melon.

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by my site. I hope you all have some kitchen inspiration or food aspirations! Much love ❤ and raw power 😉


Wishing you all a delicious September,

Jess xo

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