Braised Bitter Melon with Chicken Wing
Summer in Hong Kong or in South China is long and hot. In order to eliminate some heat, Cantonese would look for suitable food. Bitter melon is a summer seasonal must-have for Cantonese, also one of the commonly-seen Asian vegetable and can be obtained easily worldwide. Chinese consider it ‘cold’ food and its bitterness can eliminate the ‘heat’ in the body. It’s also scientifically proved that bitter melon is a good source of nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, folate and vitamin A; it can help to reduce blood sugar and decrease cholesterol levels.
There are many ways to eat it, such as stir-fry, soup, tea, or even juice. Sweetness can reduce the bitterness, for example, it’s usually seasoned with a little sugar or sweet sauce, such as Cantonese oyster sauce, when stir-fried, or add apple when juicing. In this recipe, I would braise bitter melon with chicken wings. Braising vegetable with meat is one of the most usual Hakka cooking methods. My aunt is good at Hakka family cooking but due to the social distancing and border restriction, I haven’t been able to go home and gather with my family. I miss her food so much. One of the dish she likes to make in summer is braised bitter melon, usually with pork belly, sometimes pork ribs or chicken. The bitterness would reduce the greasiness of the fat meat. And we all crave for the melon, which after braising, becomes soft and absorbs all nice flavour from the meat and the seasoning.
Read more of my bitter melon recipes –
- Bitter melon/gourd, 2
- Chicken mid-wing, 10
- Garlic, 5, peeled
- Dried red chili, 3, optional
- Douchi, fermented salty black soybean, 1tbsp. It should be easily obtained in Chinese grocery store. Or replace with 1tbsp of fermented black soybean sauce
- Light soy sauce, 3tbsp
- Cantonese oyster sauce, 1tbsp
- Cantonese rice wine, or any cooking wine, 1/2 cup
- Cornstarch, 1tsp
How to do –
1. Halve the bitter melon, remove the seeds and the white spongy part with a spoon; cut to about 2 inches long chunks;
2. Heat 2tbsp of oil in hot wok, in medium-high heat, pan-fry chicken wings in golden both sides;
3. Put in garlic cloves and dried chili, stir-fried till fragrant;
4. Put in bitter melon, seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and cooking wine, stir well, add 1 cup of water in and lid on, bring to boil then braise in medium heat for 20mins. If you like your bitter melon tenderer, like my grandparents, you could braise for a litter longer;
5. Have a taste and you may adjust with a little salt or sugar. Mix 1tsp of cornstarch with 3tbsp of water, add it in, in high heat, stir well and reduce the sauce. I like the sauce thick and coat on bitter melon and chicken wings.