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Stir-fried bitter melons and pork, in a fermented black bean garlic sauce, serve…

Stir-fried bitter melons and pork, in a fermented black bean garlic sauce, served over rice. The pork can be replaced with chicken or tofu. The bitterness of the melon is akin to mustard greens and is mellowed out with the sauce.
Prep two bitter melons, halve them lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and white pith with a spoon. Slice, toss with some kosher salt in a colander and let sit for about 15 min. Rinse, drain and pat dry.
Prep the sauce and sauce thickener. In a small bowl, mix about 1-2 Tbsp black bean garlic sauce (蒜蓉黑豆豉醬) @leekumkeeusa’s is best, ¼ cup cooking rice wine, 1 tsp. soy sauce and about 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar. Set aside. * In another small bowl, stir 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water–this will be your sauce thickener. Set aside as well.
In a large hot carbon steel or cast iron pan, heat a Tbsp of oil on high heat until almost smoking. Add in the sliced bitter melons and stir-fry for a couple minutes until softened a little. Transfer melons to a dish, set aside. Lower heat to med-high, add a bit more oil and add in a pound of ground pork or chicken, cook in a single layer, undisturbed, for about 3-4 minutes until edges get golden. Meanwhile, toss in some minced garlic, ginger, scallion whites and a couple grinds of white pepper. When almost cooked through, give the pork a couple tosses and add in the reserved bitter melons. Stir to combine and add the black bean sauce mixture, continue to stir-fry until sauce coats everything and flavors are forming a good alliance, about 2-ish min. Right before serving, drizzle the cornstarch-water mixture around the outer edge of the stir-fry, continue to toss and coat, until sauce has thickened up a bit. Toss with sliced scallions and bird’s eye chili pepper (optional) and serve with hot rice.
Discretion: I’m not a doctor or a health expert, but while bitter melons are detoxifying, nutritious and healthy in many ways, apparently they’re not safe for you if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. Talk to your doctor before consuming, or at the very least, look things up on WebMD!


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