Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Beef with Bitter Gourd & Black Beans 豆豉苦瓜炒牛肉

Stir Fry Beef with Bitter Gourd in Black Bean Sauce 豆豉苦瓜炒牛肉 - Love it or hate it? 

People usually shun away from this dish because of their resistance to bitter gourds. I can only say you do not know what you miss! Somehow, the combination of beef, bitter gourds and fermented black beans seem like a match made in heaven. They are just able to bring out the best of one another! 

Bitter gourds are no longer so bitter and scary with Stir Fry Beef with Bitter Gourd & Black Beans 豆豉苦瓜炒牛肉. Rather, this dish could become an acquired taste that you grow to love....

Ingredients (enough for 3 to 4 pax with steamed rice) :

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  • 200 gm sliced beef/flank steak (cut against grains)
  • 1/2 bitter gourd (sliced)
  • 1 big yellow onion (sliced)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3 slices of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp corn/potato starch 
  • 2 tbsp water (for starch mixture)
  • Cooking oil

Meat Marinate :

  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp white grounded pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp shoaxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp corn/potato starch flour


  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grounded black pepper
  • 50 ml water

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)

Tip 1 Do note that raw beef turns foul very quickly when thawed. It is not advisable to marinate raw beef for long in room temperature.

Tip 2Replace beef with pork slices if you do not cook or/and consume beef.


Slit bitter gourd into half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and white inner flesh. This would remove much bitterness from the bitter gourd.
Cut bitter gourd into slices at a 45-degree angle. It would allow thickness and texture conducive for stir frying.
Boil a pot of water and add 1 tsp salt. Fold in bitter gourd slices and blanch for 1 minute when water boils. 
Immediately transfer bitter gourd slices to a bowl of ice cold water after blanch. Soak for a minute, drain and set aside.
Combine all marinating ingredients into a bowl and toss evenly with raw beef.
Leave to marinate for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well. Set aside.
Heat cooking oil in skillet/wok. Add aromatic ingredients in sequence : ginger first then follow by garlic.
Fold in marinated beef slices and quick toss till 80% cooked.
Transfer beef onto a plate or bowl and set aside.
Combine 1 tsp corn/potato starch flour and 2 tbsp water into a bowl and stir well.
Heat cooking oil to skillet/wok again.
Toss in bitter gourd slices that were set aside earlier and lightly sauté.
Add yellow onions slices and give it a quick toss.
Turn to high heat. Add fermented black beans. Toss all ingredients for 1 minute. 
Fold in starch and give all ingredients a quick toss again.
Let ingredients simmer for 30 seconds.
Toss in beef slices that were set aside earlier and stir fry all ingredients till fully cooked and evenly coated with sauce. The sauce would be cooked down and thickened at this stage.
Add 1/2 tsp sesame oil before transferring to serving plate.

Need I say more? The aroma in the house tells it all! Stir Fry Beef with Bitter Gourd & Black Beans 豆豉苦瓜炒牛肉 - definitely another family classic.


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