I saw the bitter melon in the Chinese grocery store the other day, and that reminded me that I haven’t made bitter melon for ages. I have almost forgotten about it. Dishes like Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Beef/Chicken, Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Eggs are very common home made dishes. Unfortunately, you can’t find it from most Chinese restaurants in US. I have a like and hate thing for bitter melon. It tastes yummy and yet I don’t like it to be too bitter. LOL. A little bit bitter taste is OK. My mom pre-cooked the bitter melon in a pot of water to get rid of some bitterness first before she stir-fried it, which turned out to be perfect for me. I could taste a little bit bitterness, and not too much. But some people can tolerate more bitterness like my sister or my landlady back in my college days. My sister would add bitter melon with a pear and juice them together. It is a very healthy drink since bitter melon has tons of calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins etc. I tried her invention once. I almost puked. Hehehehehhehe… I couldn’t take the bitterness of the raw bitter melon. My landlady from Laos would just eat the bitter melon raw like an apple. It was amazing how others can tolerate a wider range of taste.
Note if you skip the meat, this can be a yummy vegetarian dish by itself.
- Bitter melon, 1 (the one I bought was about 12-14 inches long)
- Meat, 1/3 pound (you can use chicken or beef. I probably used less than 1/3 of ground beef)
- Black bean sauce, ½ tsp
- Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
- Garlic, 1 clove
- Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
- Cornstarch, 1 tsp
- Water, 5 Tbsp
- Sugar, ½ tsp
- Cut bitter melon in halves. Get rid of the seeds and the white pith with a spoon. The white pith has stronger bitterness. In my case, I cleaned it so well. LOL.
- Optional: Do this if you like mild bitterness like me. Boil a small pot of water. When the water boils, put the cleaned bitter melon in the pot. Use high heat. Let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain it well.
- Cut bitter melon into thin slices. Put it aside.
- Finely chop garlic. Put it aside.
- Cut meat into thin slices or you can use ground meat like I did. Either one is fine. Put it aside.
- In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water. Mix it well. Put it aside.
- Spray cooking oil in a frying pan. Use high heat. Add chopped garlic, bean sauce to the pan. Mix it well and let cook for 10 seconds or so.
- Add meat to the pot. Stir fry it for a few minutes till it is cooked.
- Add bitter melon to the pot. Mix it well. Add Chinese cooking wine, sugar, and oyster sauce. Mix it well.
- Add cornstarch mixture to the pot. Let it cook for a minute or so or until the sauce thickens. Serve hot.