Steamed Stuffed Bitter Melon

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a Main Course.

Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About



  • ½ pound pork, ground
  • 4 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion
  • tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 large bitter melons, about ¾-1 lb.


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • tablespoons fermented black beans
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon cold chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil



  1. Combine the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Mix them thoroughly. The hands are the best tool for this job.

  3. Cut the bitter melon into 1-inch slices; discard the end pieces.

  4. With a paring knife, trim out the insides.

  5. Lift them out.

  6. Stuff the cavity of each slice with a generous spoonful of stuffing.

  7. Arrange the stuffed pieces of vegetable on a plate, and set the plate on a trivet in a wok over enough hot water to come within 1 inch of the plate. Cover the wok and steam the food for 20 minutes. Remove the platter and the trivet.

  8. In a separate wok or pan, prepare the sauce. First heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil. Add the garlic and fermented black beans, stir for a minute, then add the Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, and salt. Add the liquid that results from the steaming of the melon. Bring the mixture to a boil. Thicken with the dissolved cornstarch and flavor with sesame oil.

  9. Pour the sauce over the bitter melons and serve.

  • May be prepared in advance and reheated by steaming.
  • Suggested Beverage: Beer