Stir Fried Bitter Melon

Stir Fried Bitter Melon

1 1/2 lbs sliced bitter melon
1 tablespoon pure fish sauce, e.g. Red Boat Fish Sauce
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 tablespoons oil

The most important element in this dish is controlling the heat. With most home stoves, the heat is never as hot as you want, so there is a trick to compensate for the lack of heat. First, my wok is stainless steel sandwiched around aluminum. It's a great wok, practically non-stick. Such thick material takes longer to heat up, but also keeps the heat longer. So, I let it sit on high heat until it is very hot, about 5 minutes, while I am slicing the melon.

Wash the bitter melon and then cut it lengthwise. Discard the seeds and pith. Slice the bitter melon cross sectionally, in 1/4 of an inch slices. Even slices means even cooking, which is particularly important for this dish.

This is not a quick stir fry like some of the more delicate vegetables. Bitter melon is dense and takes longer to cook, about 10 minutes.

Add 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the bitter melon. Stir to coat the melon with oil. If the melon seems dry, drizzle some more oil. The oil should never pool, but coat all the pieces. Spread out all the pieces so that they get direct heat from the pan and cook in oil not steam. Stir every minute to get all the pieces on the heat directly. You don't want to stir too often though because they will start to cook in steam and turn mushy. It is best to let some pieces brown and then turn them over.

After 5 mintues, drizzle oil in the center and add chopped garlic. Let the garlic cook in the oil for 15 seconds. Stir to mix everything together. Continue stirring as above for 5 more minutes.

In the 10th minute, add a tablespoon of fish sauce and stir around to get the fish sauce in the bitter melon. Taste to see if you like it. You may want to add a little bit more fish sauce.

Serve hot.

Author: Natty Netsuwan. From: Learn Thai Cooking
recipe picture
Natty Netsuwan