Thursday, September 10, 2009
Bitter Melon & Beef Stir Fry in Oyster Sauce - Age Deliciously
Most of us don't like bitter things (thanks for stating the obvious like it's a surprise *rolling eyes*).
I remember that I used to hate bitter melon.
It's either because I was young or the melon wasn't done well.
It was probably because I was young.
Based on my general observation, there are few things younger people simply do not like...such as bitter stuff, gelatinous, gummy, and tendony stuff. As we become more mature (yuck, I hate the word "mature" as much as "old", I might as well say "as we age"), we grow to appreciate them better.
So far, I haven't started to enjoy gummy, gelatinous food such as beef tendon and sea cucumber (yet), but I have grown to love bitter melon (when it's done well).
Am I officially old?
There is indeed a certain way to handle bitter melon to minimize its bitterness.
Wash them clean, leave the skin on.
Half them. The ripe ones have red seeds and they are more bitter, just like me. I get more bitter as I age :p
The younger ones are more firm, and their seeds are white.
Scoop out the seeds and spongy inner part, discard.
Nice and clean.
I like my bitter melon thinly sliced. Don't they look pretty?
In a colander, sprinkle quite a lot of salt (I poured 2 teaspoon salt all over them), and leave 'em for a while (I left mine for about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, marinate the accompanying meat (I used sliced beef, marinated in dark soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and 1 tsp corn starch), start cooking your rice and chop the aromatics (I used minced garlic, crushed ginger and chopped chili).
After a while...look at that bitter juice!
Give a glass to your enemy (ohhhh what an evil intention, but you might end up making your enemy healthier)
Quickly caramelise the marinated beef in a hot wok, add a little garlic, cook just until half done, don't flip them too often.
Set aside. Yum. Good enough to eat as is.
Now let's get back to our bitter melon. Saute aromatics in a bit of olive oil.
Add bitter melon, cook until softened.
Mix mix mix.
Adjust seasoning by adding sugar, white pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, more shaoxing wine...add a bit of hot water if you want a bit of a sauce.
Taste absolutely fantastical with steamed rice, taste even better the next day.
Plus, it'll improve your digestive system and kinda detox you.
Something yummy that helps with my health? Bring it on. I need all the help we can get as I age.