In Asia, anything bitter is thought to be good for health, many Asians believe the bittergourd or bitter melon has medicinal properties.
Science has shown that the bitter gourd is rich in vitamins A and C. It contains substances that can stimulate the sensory nerves and improve appetite. It also contains a substance that resembles insulin and is therefore capable of reducing blood sugar. Its ability to metabolize blood sugar means that it is a suitable addition to the diabetes diet.
This uniquely Asian vegetable is also known as bittergourd, bitter cucumber or balsam pear.
The best way to introduce it to the diet of someone who isn't used to bitter vegetables is to try to reduce the bitterness.
There are a few ways to do this.
One, slice it thinly and parboil it in salty water until it is soft but not overcooked. Then, add it to soups or stir-fries with lots of other ingredients.
Two, cut them up, remove the spongy portion and seeds and rub with salt. Leave to stand for a hour or so before cooking. Rinse and dry before cooking.
Three, choose the younger ones. The older they are, the bitter they are.
Stuffing bitter melon rings is another common way to prepare it. Stuffing is usually made from pork or fish paste. Choose small slim bitter gourd for this dish. It will make keeping the stuffing in easier.
Stuffed bitter melon rings can also be steamed on its own. Use the steam juice to make a sauce or glaze for the rings before serving.
250g bitter gourd
100g ground lean pork
10g goji berries
10g chopped spring onion
10g ground ginger
10g cooking wine
0.5g 5-spice powder
1 egg white
700g soup stock
5g sesame seed oil
Wash the bitter gourd. Trim the stem and cut the bitter gourd cross-wise forming bitter gourd rings. Remove the spongy portion and seeds.
Rinse the goji berries, drain for use
Marinate the ground pork with half of the cooking wine, chopped spring onion, and ground ginger and mix well
Add the salt, 5-spice powder, egg white, 25ml soup stock, and sesame seed oil. Mix till slightly sticky
Stuff the pork mixture into the middle of the ring of each bitter gourd. Sprinkle a little cornstarch on each side and pat gently to coat.
Add the rest of the soup stock together with the rest of the cooking wine, chopped spring onion and ginger into a soup pot. Bring the soup to a boil.
Add the stuffed bitter gourd rings and cook till done (when they float to the surface
Add the goji berries and season with salt and pepper to preferred taste
How to grow bitter melon?
Stonysoil Seed Company Chinese Bitter Melon Green Skin Seeds
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