Bitter gourd (or bitter melon or bitter squash) is actually a fruit, and is the most bitter fruit that is known. Of everyone I know, only my grandmother and I eat bitter gourd. (I guess this would be a really unpopular recipe.) I didn’t used to like eating bitter gourds when I was younger, because it was just so bitter. However, I realized that the longer you stew it, the less bitter it got, and it really acts like a sponge and sucks up any sort of flavor that there is in the dish, which makes it taste great (and not bitter). Hence, the best way (in my opinion) to make bitter gourd a dish for ‘beginners’ is to stew it, and stew it for a long time. Bitter gourd also has a ton of medicinal properties, so if you’re diabetic or have high blood pressure, it’s actually really good for you.
- 1 bitter gourd, cut into 1″x1/2″ pieces
- 1 red chili, sliced lenth-wise
- 6 cloves garlic
- thumb-sized ginger, sliced
- 3 oz pork belly
- 1.5 tablespoon fermented bean sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup water
In a heated pan, add oil, ginger and garlic, and fry for 30 seconds.
Add pork belly, and fry until some fat has rendered (about 30 – 45 seconds).
Add chili and fermented bean paste, and fry until evenly mixed.
Add the bittergourd to the pan and fry until the bittergourd turns into a bright green.
Transfer this mixture into a claypot and add 1/4 cup water. (If you don’t have a claypot, any pot with a lid will do.)
Place the claypot on the stove top, and heat until the contents come to a boil.
Turn the heat down to a simmer, and simmer for two hours (or more). I usually simmer until the pork belly is really tender.
Serve and enjoy!