Bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) is also called Balsam pear or bitter melon. Bitter gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium. From the ayurvedic perspective, bitter gourd is excellent for balancing Kapha. It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver. Definitely an acquired taste, many do not like it cos of the bitterness but those who like it, say that it is 'kum' in cantonese - a special sweetness.
2 Chicken thighs - cut into bite-size
1 bitter gourd
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Dry sherry/shaoxing wine
1 tsp Cornstarch
2 tsp Thin soy sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp Fermented black beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger - minced
2 shallots - minced
1/2 tsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Black soy sauce
3/4 cup Chicken stock
1 tsp Cornstarch plus 1 tbsp water
Cut bitter gourd in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon or corer and discard.
Cut into 1 inch squares, and blanch for 3-4 minutes in boiling water to which a little salt has been added. Drain
Marinate chopped chicken with the marinate ingredients for 20 - 30 minutes
Rinse fermented black beans.
In bowl, combine and mash black beans , ginger,shallots,garlic, brown sugar, black soy sauce and chicken stock; stir; reserve for 15 minutes.
Heat wok with 1 tbsp oil and when oil is very hot, add chicken. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes on high heat - or until chicken begins to shrink and firm up. Remove chicken to holding bowl.
Reheat wok to high, add remaining oil. When oil is hot, add black bean sauce. Stir-fry until fragrant and aromatic.
Add bitter gourd, and saute. When sauce boils, add cooked chicken; toss to combine.
Cover the wok and cook until chicken is tender.
Dribble in a little cornstarch paste if needed; cornstarch in chicken marinade might be enough.
Toss ingredients until sauce thickens.