Stir-Fried Bitter Melon with Chicken and Black Beans
  • 2 medium bitter melons (roughly 1¼ pounds; found in Asian Markets)
  • ½ chicken breast (or any meat you prefer, about 4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice cooking wine (I doubled this)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I use a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon plus five tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil (I double this)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese dried black beans (I doubled this; these are not hard dried American beans. Sold in Asian markets, they're soft and sealed in plastic in the dried foods aisle. Not the same as black bean sauce in a jar)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced (I use at least 2)
  1. Prepare the bitter melon: Bring a pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. While you wait, slice the bitter melons in half lengthwise then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice each half into ¼-inch thick slices on a diagonal. Once the water's boiling, add the bitter melon slices and wait for the water to return to a boil. You may remove at this time or cook for another minute or two to reduce the bitterness. Drain and rinse under cold water (to stop cooking) and set aside.
  2. Prepare the chicken: Cut the chicken into thin strips. Place in a bowl and and add to it the ginger, rice wine, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cooking oil, cornstarch, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. Stir and set aside.
  3. Prepare the black beans: Rinse the black beans in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and mash with the garlic and set aside.
  4. Cook: Heat a skillet over high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil then add the chicken pieces. Cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes until one side of the chicken is brown then stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and also the black bean and garlic mixture. Add the bitter melon and stir-fry for about 1 minute then add the cooked chicken (and juices). Stir fry for another minute then plate. Serve with rice.
Adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young.
Recipe by Lemons + Anchovies at