Although bitter melon has an unusual bitter taste, this recipe mellows its flavor while preserving its nutritional properties.
Serves 8. Total time 45 minutes. Prep time 15 minutes. Cooking time 30 minutes.
1 tspnToasted sesame oil
2 clvGarlic, minced
2 TbspGreen onion, minced
1 tspnFresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 TbspBragg liquid aminos
1 tspnRaw sugar
10 ozFirm tofu, pressed against a strainer to remove water, then mashed
4 cBitter melon, cut into 1/3-inch rings
1 TbspCornstarch for dusting
1 TbspPeanut oil for pan-frying
2 tspnToasted sesame oil
2 clvGarlic, minced
2 TbspFresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 TbspFermented black beans,* chopped
1/8 tspnBlack pepper
2 TbspSoy sauce
2 TbspRaw sugar
1 1/4 cWater
1 TbspCornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
- Heat the sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat and sauté the garlic, green onion, and ginger until lightly browned. Add the water, liquid aminos, and sugar and mix well. Cook until the water is almost evaporated, then add the mashed tofu and mix well. Set aside to cool.
- Using a small sharp knife, carefully cut the foamy seed part out from each bitter melon ring. Steam the rings for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
- Pat a touch of cornstarch around the inside of each ring. Stuff each ring firmly with about 1/2 Tbsp. of tofu filling, or just enough to pack inside evenly.
- Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Place the rings in the skillet and pan-fry until golden brown on one side, then carefully turn to cook the other side. (Cook in 2 batches if needed.)
- For the sauce, heat the sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sauté the garlic and ginger until lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch mixture and mix well.
- Bring to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture, and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat. To serve, arrange the rings on a large serving plate and drizzle the sauce on top.
Notes*Fermented black beans are available in Asian markets or grocery stores in the Asian section. For a homemade variation, see below.
Homemade Salted Black Beans: Place 1/2 cup cooked black beans in a small saucepan. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup water. Mix well and simmer on low heat until the beans are almost dry. Set aside to cool slightly, then roughly chop.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 351, Fat 7.6g (68 cal), Carbohydrate 66.8g (267 cal), Protein 4g (16 cal)
Added information: Saturated Fat 3.6g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 213mg, Dietary Fiber 1.6g