Nigauri is one of the summer vegetables that are in the same gourd family as honeydew. Nigauri has been used in medicine in China and India since olden days. Bitter Melon was introduced to Japan in the sixteen century, but it was only recently when the vegetable gained popularity among Japanese people for its health benefits.
As the name implies, bitter melon is very bitter. Because it becomes more pungent as it ripens, nigauri is harvested young. Typically, the ones with bigger bumps in a pale color are less bitter. It is also called “Goya” and is used for Okinawa's local dishes such as “Goya chanpuru.”
To prep, cut in half vertically and scoop out the seeds and guts. Cut into smaller pieces, sprinkle salt lightly, set aside for 10 to 20 minutes to remove bitterness. Rinse with water, then thoroughly drain excess water.