Beef and Bitter Melon with Garlic Black Bean Sauce on Rice

Serves 3-4

2 bitter melons, seeds removed

350 gr beef for stir frying, flank steak cut into thin slices work best
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp corn starch, with 1/4 cup water
Bitter melon cut in half, vertically, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds

To marinate the beef:
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp mirin
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp corn starch

Note: this is one of the standard beef marinating recipes for Chinese beef stir fry dishes. Salt should never be used to marinate beef or pork as it makes the meat tough. If using previously frozen beef, defrost for 1 hour and slice, it is much easier to slice the beef before it's completely defrosted. Stir frying the beef with a carbon steel pan like the De Buyer gives it nice grilled taste.

Beef flank steak sliced and stir fried to 80% cooked
Mix all of the above ingredients together in a bowl, add to the sliced beef. Sprinkle the corn starch over the beef, mix and let it sit in the fridge, ideally for 50 min to both tenderize and marinate the meat.

Cut the bitter melon in half vertically. Remove the seeds using a spoon. Cut the bitter melon in 2 cm slices. Place the melon in a container with enough water to cover. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and mix, squeezing the melon with your hands in the water for 3-4min. This helps remove some of the bitterness from the melon. If you love it bitter as it is, you can leave the melon in the salt water for 10 min resting on the counter.

Now, add some oil to the pan and fry the beef over medium-high heat for 4-5 min until it's 80% cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside.

With the same pan, fry the bitter melon over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp salt, soy sauce, black bean garlic sauce and water and cook, for 8 min until the melon is soft (but not overcooked and mushy) with a bit of a crunch.

Add the cooked beef into the pan and mix in for 1 min. Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water, bring the liquid in the pan to a boil and pour the corn starch mix in, stirring. Turn the heat off and mix the thickened sauce to cover.

For a complete all-in-one meal, serve over white or brown rice.

This dish can also be prepared with oyster sauce instead of black bean sauce. Here is the recipe:

Cut the bitter melon in 2 cm slices. Place the melon in a container with enough water to cover. 


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