Pickled Bitter Melon in XO Sauce

Pickled Bitter Melon in XO Sauce

This vegetable is probably something you don’t see quite often at your local grocery store or Whole Foods. It’s a common melon used in Asian cooking as well as used for various medicinal purposes. There a few varieties of bitter melon and have been touted for anti-viral, anti-cancerous, anti-malarial, cardio-protective, and even diabetic purposes. It’s a melon that seems to have many health benefits and contains different active biological compounds.

In Chinese cuisine, it is often sauteed with meats or used to make soups/tonics with. The melon has you may have guessed from the name, a bitter taste to it. Thus when sauteed, the sauces we use, tend to be heavier in flavor like blackbean sauce or chili garlic sauce. When the melon is cooked in soup, they blanch the melon a few times to purge some of the bitterness before simmering it in the actual soup.

This version I’ve created however is a rather new way of eating bitter melon. Recently in Hong Kong, there has a been a trend of pickling bitter melon and eating it cold. The most common flavor was sweet and sour and they served it over shaved ice. It was refreshing in flavor and the texture was crispy which I loved. So I decided to create my own pickled melon using XO sauce. Xo sauce is chili sauce made of dried scallops, dried shrimp, dried ham, caramelized garlic, caramelized onions or shallots, and lots of chili.

Pickled Bitter Melon with Xo Sauce

1 whole bitter melon

3 tablespoon XO Sauce (bought from Asian Supermarket)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoon brown sugar or white sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon chili oil
1 tablespoon almond butter or sesame paste or tahini

1. De-seed and core your melon, then slice it thin

2. Blanch your melon in hot water with some salt and then rinse under cold ice water until chilled.

3. Put everything in a bowl other than your melon and whisk until incorporated.
4. Now pour the dressing over your melon and toss.
5. Cover with Saran wrap in a bowl and let it chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

6. Now Enjoy!