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
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.
Author: Natty Netsuwan. From: ThaiTable.com: Learn Thai Cooking