Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ground Pork with Bitter Melon

I guess this recipe could also be entitled, "Fish Tasting Pork with Bitter Melon". The pork does end up with a "fishy" taste. I grew up eating mainly Hakka Chinese food in Jamaica. My friend's mother was an excellent cook, and she would always put something "smelly" in whenever she cooked Bitter Melon. It would either be dried shrimp or dried fish, something to make it fragrant (Fragrant 香 - xiāng). Nowadays, the term "Umami" is used to describe that kind of taste, and for me, it's an integral part of my taste in food.  I decided to use XO Sauce and Fish Sauce to try and recapture that taste. I use Lee Kum Kee Premium XO Sauce. It's very expensive but has a quality and taste that the cheaper versions cannot match. Getting the right balance between the "sweet" and Salty" tastes in this dish that counteract the bitterness of the Bitter Melon, is not easy. The seasonings may require adjustment at final tasting to get the taste you like.This dish has very little sauce so it goes well with stir-fried vegetables or steamed Chinese Broccoli or Yu Choy Sum.

3/4 lb ground pork
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 bitter melon, washed, deseeded, and sliced (see photo)
1 tablespoon salt
3 stalks green onion
3 cloves garlic
4-5 slices of ginger root
1/2 tsp black or white pepper
1 heaping tbsp Lee Kum Kee XO Premium Sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 chicken bullion cube + 1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Guilin chili sauce
1. Wash, remove pulp and seeds, and slice the Bitter Melon (see photos). Mix with 1 tablespoon of salt and set aside for about a half hour. This helps to decrease the bitterness of the Bitter Melon. 

2. Place the garlic and green onions in a small chopper, and chop finely (see photo).

3. Rinse and drain the Bitter Melon so that no salt is left on the vegetable.
4. Microwave the chicken cube with the water so that it's dissolved. Mix in the XO sauce, sugar, fish sauce, and chili sauce.
5. Heat the cooking oil in a wok and fry the ground pork until fully cooked, and some of the pork starts to brown. Add the black or white pepper to this mixture.
6. Add the ginger root, chopped green onions and garlic and continuing frying.
7. Add the sliced Bitter Melon and continuing stir-frying
8. Add the bullion mixture with sauces to the wok and cook at high heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Serve.

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