Bitter Gourd is just as its name, bitter. But the level of bitterness varies in the various types of bitter gourd. Either you like it for its bitterness or just stay away from it. Which one applies to you? Bitter gourd can be very tasty, it is actually very interesting to know how this bitter melon is cooked in every different country and culture. Wikipedia has some very interesting facts about this.
For this dish, I use the Chinese bitter gourd variety, which is longer and bigger, lighter green in colour. I only use about half the melon, keeping the other half for omelette. Have you ever tried bitter gourd omelette before? It is very tasty too, one of my favourite omelette dish. I have a few bitter gourd plants in my potted garden. A few months back, I harvested a few bitter gourds and it was a real treat! I planted the smaller variety, which locally, we call it the Indian bitter gourd, this variety is more popular among the Indian community, and is very delicious when deep-fried till crispy, marinated with some spices and salt. Have you ever seen the flower of a bitter gourd? It is yellow and very delicate, you can catch a glimpse of how it looks like, just hop over to my potted garden, click here and here.
For this dish, the amount of black pepper sauce to use, really depends on the brand that you have. Some brands may carry a more pungent and peppery, salty taste. The one I use is more to the mild peppery taste, I would prefer a sauce with a stronger taste of pepper, but when cooking for the family with kids, then this would be more suitable. Before adding any sauce to any stir-fry, I would suggest that, do a taste testing first, "get-to-know" your sauce, some of them can be very salty, then you need to adjust the seasonings accordingly.
If you have not eaten bitter gourd melon before, then give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you actually like it!
Stir-Fry Bitter Gourd Melon with Black Pepper Sauce
250 - 300 gm bitter gourd
1 small carrot
100 gm minced pork
1/2 tsp cornflour + 1/2 tsp water
1 tbsp black pepper sauce (may add more or less, depends on the brands that you use)
2 clove garlic, chopped
2-3 slices ginger
3-4 tbsp water
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (optional)
- Cut bitter gourd lengthwise into quarters. Cut diagonally across into thin slices. Repeat with carrots. Marinate minced pork with 1/2 tsp each of cornflour and water. Keep aside.
- Heat about 2 tbsp oil and fry bitter gourd and carrots together, stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes until cooked but not soft. Dish out and keep aside.
- Heat about 2 tbsp oil. Add in ginger slices and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes and add the chopped garlic. Saute until garlic turns light brown and fragrant. Add in minced pork. Stir until pork turns to white and cooked. Add in black pepper sauce and stir for about 1 minute. Add 3-4 tbsp of water and stir for a further 1 minute. Test for saltiness, black pepper sauce is usually salty enough, otherwise, a little salt or light soy sauce may be added according to taste.
- Add in the bitter gourd and carrots, give a quick stir , if using Chinese cooking wine, add in now. Dish out to a serving plate. Serve hot. Great with plain white rice.