Are there any dishes that make prominent use of astringency? I understand that often some of the ingredients in a dish are astringent, but are there any dishes where astringency is deliberately developed and centered?

In other words, are there any dishes that aim to be predominantly astringent?

2 Answers 2


Rhubarb pie - halve the sugar & don't use that wimpy pink stuff that's forced in greenhouses, get the big old fat green stalks about an inch thick that grow naturally, for a much stronger hit.

If that's not enough, try adding sloe berries… or just eat the rhubarb raw, or dipped in lemon & vinegar.

Ahh… childhood. We used to grow it in the back garden & it was a notable source of savage amusement in late summer.

Another savage amusement was sherbet lemons dipped in alum - I wouldn't recommend this to anyone over 12. The amusement value palls as an adult, though I suppose you could wash it down with a big red wine.

  • Where'd you get your hands on alum as a kid? Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 22:03
  • Local chemist's/pharmacy "We're doing crystals at school mister, 'ave yer got any alum?" They were more innocent days… well, the adults were more trusting of us urchins perhaps. They could always give us a clip round the ear if they caught us misbehaving ;-)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 6:15
  • Amazing. Wouldn't even know where to go for something like that today. Maybe Amazon. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 11:36

I am girding my loins to try making bitter melon tonight. I have 2 I bought this Saturday at the farmers market.


In Chinese cuisine, bitter melon (苦瓜, pinyin: kǔguā, POJ: khó͘-koe) is valued for its bitter flavor, typically in stir-fries (often with pork and douchi), soups, dim sum, and herbal teas (gohyah tea). It has also been used in place of hops as the bittering ingredient in some beers in China and Okinawa.[3]

Bitter melon is commonly eaten throughout India. In North Indian cuisine, it is often served with yogurt on the side to offset the bitterness, used in curry such as sabzi or stuffed with spices and then cooked in oil.

Apparently you can parboil it some to cut the bitterness. I am debating whether to do this in hopes someone else might eat some, or just stir fry it straight with the black bean sauce and revel in the bitter.

  • 1
    I'll have to try bitter melon some time. Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 22:05

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