World Cuisine

  • 875 g (1¾ lb) bitter melons
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely diced fresh root ginger
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) boiling hot vegetable stock

Cut the bitter melons in half lengthways, remove the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Thinly slice the melons.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the melons and blanch for 2–3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil a large nonstick wok or frying pan over a high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, spring onions, chillies and black beans and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the melon, sugar, rice wine and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium.

Cover the pan and simmer for about 8–10 minutes until the melon is tender. Serve with steamed rice.

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