Beef and Bitter melon Stir-fry In Soybean Sauce

A tasty and nutritious bitter melon recipe that takes less than 30 minutes. With the savory beef and soybean sauce, even picky eaters will love it.

I used to hate bitter melon when I was a kid. And you can probably guess the reason from its name. But as I grew up, I began to love this healthy vegetable more and more. Not because I suddenly fall in love with bitterness, but because I’ve tried different ways to prepare it. 

Bitter melon does a good job of balancing the meaty flavor in stir-fry dishes. Some restaurants add coke when cooking bitter melon, so it no longer tastes bitter. When paired with the right ingredients, you can make bitter melon delicious even for picky eaters.

Today, I am introducing this savory and easy bitter melon recipe – Beef and bitter melon stir-fry. It is a popular Chinese dish not just in Chinese takeaways but in regular Chinese homes as well. Get your apron, and let’s start cooking.

Beef and Bitter melon Stir-fry In Soybean Sauce

Why you should try this bitter melon recipe

  1. It’s full of nutrients, protein, and dietary fiber.
  2. The savory beef and soybean sauce balance the bitterness of the melon
  3. It takes less than 30 minutes to make.

What is bitter melon?

Bitter melon, bitter gourd, or Kugua in Mandarin, is a tropical fruit commonly seen in Asia and Africa. It gets its name from the bitter taste. After being introduced from India to China in the 14th century, it has become one of China’s household ingredients.

The bitterness of the fruit comes from Cucurbitacin, a common substance of pumpkins and gourds. In traditional Chinese medicine, Cucurbitacin can help to cure hepatitis and liver cancer. 

And here are some of the nutritional benefits of bitter melon:

  1. Rich in nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamin B1
  2. Helps to regular blood sugar
  3. In Chinese medicine, bitter melon is a powerful ingredient that flushes out the toxins from our bodies. 
  4. Rich in fiber, which helps with weight-loss and digestive problems.
  5. Strengthens the immune system and regulates hormones.

How to make this easy bitter melon stir-fry with beef?

Ingredients

  • 1 Bitter melon, medium-sized
  • 200 grams of beef
  • Garlic, 4 gloves
  • Cooking oil, 1 tbsp
  • Rice vinegar, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Soybean sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Light soy sauce, 2 tsp
  • Five-spice powder, 1 tsp (optional)
  • Sugar, 1 tsp (optional)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Slice the beef thinly. Marinate it with two teaspoons of light soy sauce and one teaspoon of five-spice powder (optional).

You can switch five-spice powder with black pepper if you want an extra kick in the taste. Or you can marinate the beef without it.

  1. Meanwhile, wash the bitter melon. Cut it in half and slice it open lengthwise. 
Step-by-step instructions to cook bitter melon and beef stir-fry
  1. Remove the seeds in the middle and cut the bitter melon crosswise into thin slices.
Step-by-step instructions to cook bitter melon and beef stir-fry
Step-by-step instructions to cook bitter melon and beef stir-fry
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add two teaspoons of salt. Add the sliced bitter melon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Take the melon out and set aside for later.

Parboiling the melon helps to reduce the bitterness. It also cuts the cooking time, so it’s less likely to overcook the beef.

  1. Smash the garlic with the back of the knife. Then peel the skin off and chop the gloves finely.
Step-by-step instructions to cook bitter melon and beef stir-fry
  1. On a pan, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Then add the chopped garlic and stir-fry till fragrant.
  2. Add the bitter melon to the pan and one tablespoon of rice vinegar. Stir often for 5 minutes till they start to soften.

The rice vinegar will help to maintain the green color of the melon. And it also helps to dilute the bitterness.

  1. Add the marinated beef to the pan and stir for 2 minutes. Then season it with soybean sauce and sugar. Sauté over medium heat for another 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a plate and serve with rice.
Beef and Bitter melon Stir-fry In Soybean Sauce

How to reduce the bitterness of the bitter melon

Bitter melon is a healthy vegetable with many nutritional benefits. But if you are not really into its bitter taste, here are some ways to reduce the flavor:

  1. Boil bitter melon in salted water

Add one to two teaspoons of salt to a pot of water and bring it to boil. Parboil the bitter melon for a minute or so.

This trick vastly reduces its bitterness and eliminates most of the oxalic acid. The salt will help to maintain the green color, and the melon will still be crunchy.

  1. Add one of the following ingredients to balance the flavor:
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice

Have you tried this bitter melon recipe?

Tell me how it goes in the comment! Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions down below. Happy cooking!

You may also like these recipes:

Chop suey-styled beef and tomato stir-fry
Easy Chinese cucumber and egg stir-fry

4-ingredients cabbage and Chinese sausage stir-fry

beef and bitter melon stir fry-feature

Beef and Bitter melon Stir-fry In Soybean Sauce

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

A tasty and nutritious bitter melon recipe that takes less than 30 minutes. With the savory beef and soybean sauce, even picky eaters will love it.

Ingredients

  • 1 Bitter melon, medium-sized
  • 200 grams of beef
  • Garlic, 4 gloves
  • Cooking oil, 1 tbsp
  • Rice vinegar, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Soybean sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Light soy sauce, 2 tsp
  • Five-spice powder, 1 tsp (optional)
  • Sugar, 1 tsp (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice the beef thinly. Marinate it with two teaspoons of light soy sauce and one teaspoon of five-spice powder (optional).
  2. Wash the bitter melon. Cut it in half and slice it open lengthwise. 
  3. Remove the seeds in the middle and cut the bitter melon crosswise into thin slices.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil and add two teaspoons of salt. Add the sliced bitter melon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Take the melon out and set aside for later.
  5. Smash the garlic with the back of the knife. Then peel the skin off and chop the gloves finely.
  6. On a pan, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Then add the chopped garlic and stir-fry till fragrant.
  7. Add the bitter melon to the pan and one tablespoon of rice vinegar. Stir often for 5 minutes till they start to soften.
  8. Add the marinated beef to the pan and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the soybean sauce and sugar. Sauté over medium heat for another 4 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a plate and serve with rice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 1630mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g

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