Bitter melon with garlic and black beans

Bitter melon, looks so intriguing; it can be very tasty and sometimes very bitter. If you don’t like ‘bitter’ the secret is to remove some of the bitterness before cooking.

Bitter melon with garlic and black beans


Serves 4

1 bitter melon
150g finely sliced chicken or beef
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp oil
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp black bean sauce or oyster sauce
½ cup water
2 tsp cornflour
¼ cup water
salt to taste


Slice melon in half lengthways, remove seeds, slice finely, rinse, sprinkle with salt, leave 30 mins, rinse well and repeat.
Cook melon in boiling water until tender yet firm, about 2 minutes. Strain. Place the melon into the ice bath; allow to sit until bitterness is extracted, about 1 hour. Drain melon.
Heat wok, or a large skillet, on high until smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil, add chicken or beef and stir fry.
Cook until browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove chicken.
Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in bitter melon; cook until combined, about 1 minute.
Stir black bean sauce into melon mixture.
Pour in water, cover and let simmer until flavours combine, 2 to 3 minutes.
Mix cornflour and water together until smooth. Add to melon mixture and stir until thickened.
Season to taste and serve.

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