This is a common dish that almost every Chinese household would dish up in their kitchen. In my house, we love bitter gourd. Though some of the bitterness may be lessen by marinating the sliced bitter gourd pieces with some salt, squeeze out some of the bitterness, rinse and cook as usual, I would usually omit this step. As my hubby says, it wouldn't be called a bitter gourd for nothing! This is one dish that you would not find in a Chinese New Year menu, definitely a no-no! In Chinese, bitter gourd melon is known as "fu gua", the word '"fu" meaning bitter, and having this melon at the start of a lunar year means that you will have a year of "bitterness". Nobody would want that! Since Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days, then it is alright to consume this melon after that period is over.
The ingredients needed for this dish : chicken pieces (skinless), slices of bitter gourd, pounded garlic, fermented bean paste and julienned ginger.
A plate of Bitter Gourd and Chicken Braised with Fermented Bean Paste is ready for our dinner.
It is not as bitter as you imagine it would be. It is really an acquired taste and once you "accept" the bitterness, it is really delicious! There are many varieties of Bitter Gourd Melon, their bitterness varies with each variety. The one I use above is what we commonly called the Chinese Bitter Gourd. Choose the ones with pale green in colour, it will be less bitter than the dark ones.
Bitter Gourd is good for you! It is low in calories and has high dietary fiber. It has excellent source of nutrients with vitamins B1, B2, B3, magnesium, folic acid, Vitamin C, zinc, phosphorus, manganese and rich in iron. It contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach and twice the potassium of a banana! Wow! All the goodness and delicious too! Have you tried Bitter Gourd Melon before, if not, then give it a try!
Bitter Gourd and Chicken Braised with Fermented Bean Paste
(by kitchen flavours)
1 medium bitter gourd
1 whole chicken thigh, skinned, and cut to small bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1-2 tablespoon ginger, julienned
4 garlic cloves, pounded
1 tablespoon fermented beans paste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon black soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce or to taste
1/2 cup warm water
- Cut bitter gourd to half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and discard. Cut bitter gourds to 1-1/2" to 2" lengths and slice lengthwise to about 1/2 inch thickness.
- Marinate chicken pieces with cornflour and 1 tablespoon water. Keep aside for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil. When oil is hot, add in ginger, stir for a minute until fragrant. Add in pounded garlic, fermented beans paste, and stir for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add in the chicken pieces and stir until chicken is no longer pink. Add water, stir to combine and cover, lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add in bitter gourd, oyster sauce, black soy sauce, light soy sauce and stir till well combined.
- Cover and continue to simmer, stirring now and then, adding a little water if appears dry, until bitter gourd is tender and chicken is cooked.
- Dish up and serve hot.