This is a classic Chinese dish. Bitter melon is stuffed with a delicious mixture of minced pork, then pan-fried and simmered with a garlic and black bean sauce. Serve with freshly cooked rice.


Recipe Summary

20 mins
30 mins
15 mins
1 hr 5 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place shrimp in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover; set aside until shrimp are rehydrated, about 10 minutes. Drain.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in a bowl until a smooth paste forms. Mix sugar, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt into cornstarch paste until marinade is well combined. Stir pork into marinade moving the spoon in one direction.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat; fry shrimp until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp to pork mixture, stirring in 1 direction until it reaches a paste-like consistency.

  • Sprinkle salt over bitter melon and let sit for 5 minutes.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil; add bitter melon and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well.

  • Stuff each bitter melon slice with pork mixture and sprinkle cornstarch evenly over each.

  • Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and fry stuffed bitter melon until brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer bitter melon to a serving plate.

  • Mix 1/2 cup water, oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar together in a bowl until oyster sauce mixture is smooth.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the same skillet over high heat. Cook and stir black bean-garlic sauce, red pepper, and garlic until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add oyster sauce mixture and stir until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add stuffed bitter melons and simmer, 5 to 6 minutes.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms; stir into skillet until sauce is thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

Stuff the bitter melon as much as possible, as the meat will shrink when it's cooked.

Add some water when stir-frying the pork. This will give the pork a fluffier texture.

Bitter melon, dried shrimp, and black bean and garlic sauce may be purchased in Indian/South Asian specialty stores.

Substitute 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce for the 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

310 calories; protein 17.5g; carbohydrates 12.6g; fat 20.8g; cholesterol 60.2mg; sodium 890.2mg. Full Nutrition