Monday, June 23, 2014

Bittermelon with Salted Egg 苦瓜炒咸蛋

When we are out of our comfort zone, we tend to find other ways to learn and perform. For example, I would never think of buying an ingredient such as salted egg, as part of my grocery-list. But when a friend gives you that not-your-norm ingredient, it spurs you to cook something different, once in a while.

Bittermelon with Salted Egg 苦瓜炒咸蛋 is not something different or new; in fact it is quite a popular dish in parts of Asia e.g. Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia; and often presents itself as a homey side-dish that is perfect accompaniment with rice porridge (rice congee, rice gruel) or steamed rice. I have not cooked this dish at home before but I have tried it many times when I was in Taiwan. When done correctly, the saltiness of the egg perfectly balances the bitterness of the bittermelon.

However, with the salted egg "given" to me, I am going to cook Bittermelon with Salted Egg at home, right now! Even if this is the first and last salted egg that is going to appear in my kitchen, at least I get to go through the motion of cooking this dish at home.

Do you know there are many bitter melon varieties such as White Bitter-Melon, "Spikey" Bitter- Melon, and the one most familiar to me (also the one I most often cook with) - the rounder less "spikey" Chinese-style Bitter-Melon which can be used for braising, and cooking egg-drop soup?

Bittermelon with Salted Egg 苦瓜炒咸蛋
With one salted egg - separate the yolk and white, mash up the yolk and white into bite-size pieces, still keeping them separate. Clean and de-seed one medium-size bitter melon, and slice them really thin (Note: Soak for about 10 minutes in salted water to remove some of the bitterness)

Heat up 1tbsp cooking oil in the pan or wok. Add in salted egg yolk and mash it up in the pan while frying. Add the thin slices of bitter melon and make sure the yolk is mixed well with the bitter melon. Add 1-2 tbsp of water to prevent over-drying of mixture while frying. After about 5 minutes or more (make sure the bitter melon is cooked, slightly tender), add the mashed up salted egg white into the bitter melon mixture and gently fry for about 3 minutes. Dish up and serve

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