have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

When bitter is good!

Ekkk! so bitter! was my first impression of bittergourd. I can imagine many share this tongue-killing experience with me. I have learnt through the years not to under estimate this gourd. It is rich in vitamins A and C and also believed to be good for those with low blood pressure. Lately it seems that research has shown that it contains properties that can give us clear healthy complexion. Well, anything to look great and healthy! To make it more palatable, I have a few ways to dish it out. Most common is in the form of 'Yong Tau Foo' which the bittergourd is cut in rounds or slightly slanted and the empty space in the centre is filled with yummy fish paste. It is then deep fried in oil and drained. The filled gourd is then served with other types of vegetables like lady fingers, red chilles, aubergine, long beans twisted into a circle and filled with fish paste. I have been trying to capture a nice photo of Yong Tau Foo with bittergourd but seem to have failed but I guess I shall keep trying cos I don't intend make this dish myself since lots of stalls out there make real delicious ones.
Bittergourd stewed with chicken (Foo Kua Mun Khai) is another decently palatable dish. Lately with 'Bird Flu' around I am not too keen to cook chicken eventhough I love this dish. When times are better I shall post this recipe and photo. (Stay tuned for a better future)
Spicy Bittergourd Dish
4 small bitter gourd (pitted and cut like the photo on the right)
Ingredients Blended
3 cloves of garlic
2 large red chilies (sorry I have been spelling chillies all this while!)
3 bird eye chili (feels strange with 1 L)
2 tsp whole bean tauchu paste (fermented soya beans)
1 Tbsp of scallop and chicken concentrated stock (from the bottle - optional)
A dash of black soya sauce (for coloring)
Boil a pot of water and dunk in the sliced bittergourd. This process is done for those who don't like it too bitter. Drained off the water and run bittergourd under normal temperature filtered water. (To preserve its crunchyness)
Drizzle some olive oil in a saucepan and put in the 3 blended ingredients and tauchu paste. Stir fry till fragrant and put in the scallop and chicken stock.
Throw in all the bittergourd and stir come more, adding a little water and saute for another 10 minutes. A dash of soya sauce and just a stir and it is ready to be served.

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I'm Audrey from Somewhere in my kitchen, Malaysia.

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