Bitter melon recipes aren’t for everyone, and the name alone is enough to have some people running in the opposite direction! Let me see if I can convince you to give this delicious combo of bitter melon, beef, and salty black bean sauce a try.
A lot of families eat bitter melon weekly for this reason. While most people don’t like this dish solely because they’re afraid of the bitter flavor.
According to the experts, they can use it to make a medicine! This is good for a diabetic person, it also contains a chemical that helps reduce blood sugar levels. As far as we’re concerned, bitter melon is right up there with the acai berries and goji berries of the world. Try it!
1 pound beef, sliced against the grain (flank steak works well)
2 medium bitter melons
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons water or chicken stock (optional)
To marinate the beef:
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
Start by mixing the sliced beef with the marinade ingredients (cornstarch, baking soda, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, and light soy sauce). Marinate the beef for 20 minutes.
To prepare the bitter melon:
- Cut each melon in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Scrape all the white parts clean, because the white parts cause the bitterness. Then slice the melon on a 45-degree angle into thin slices.
- Prepare an ice bath and set aside.
- Boil a pot of water, and stir in 1 tablespoon each of salt and baking soda.
- Blanch the bitter melon for 1 minute, transfer the bitter melon to the ice bath. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and sear the beef for about 45 seconds. Remove from the wok and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok over medium heat.
- Cook the garlic and black beans for a minute. Turn up the heat to high (this gives the dish that necessary wok-hay flavor), and add the bitter melon, stir-frying quickly.
- Add the Shaoxing wine, sugar, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Stir and mix everything well.
- add the beef and chicken stock (if you like more sauce), stir-frying and salting to taste.
At this point, I usually like to cover the wok and let the dish cook for one more minute. Cooking the bitter melon until it’s tender doesn’t make this the prettiest dish in your arsenal, but it definitely makes the dish tastier and the bitter melon less bitter. Serve your beef with bitter melon on top of steamed rice for a one plate meal on a weeknight!