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bitter melon salad

Posted on: September 5, 2006

My boss taught me this simple recipe for a delicious salad:

1 small bitter melon (chinese type, not the indian one)
3/4 lb – 1 lb ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped red sweet onions
1/2 or less tbsp fillipino shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) – it’s a funky purple color, you can’t miss it
1/2 or less tbsp rice vinegar or sushi vinegar

quarter the bitter melon, core it, and slice into thin slices, the thinner the better. Put the slices into a bowl, add a generous spoon of salt, mix and let sit for 1/2 hr. This will coax some of the bitter juice to come out. If you like your stuffs superbitter, you can skip this step

After 1/2 hour, wash the bittermelon slices in water and squeeze excess water (wring out the water). Repeat this step about 5-6 times, until you taste the melon and it’s not super salty anymore. You wanna wash as much of the salt out as possible. Don’t get impatient otherwise your salad will taste crappy.

Dice tomatoes and red onions, mix with bittermelon slices in a bowl. Add vinegar and toss. Add shrimpaste (less than 1/2 tbsp) and mix. Your salad is now read to serve. Yum!

The name of this salad is “Ampalaya salad,” you can find an alternative recipe here. As you can see, the ratio of bitter melon to tomato is different than my version, simply because the bitterness in the bittermelon totally kicks my ass, so I have to increase the tomato ratio to save myself. If you like the bitterness, you can always double the amount of bittermelon.

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