Daily Cooking Quest

Braised Stuffed Bitter Melon in Black Bean Sauce

Many people seems to hate bitter melons mainly because they are, well, bitter. But we will be stuffing them with ground pork and shiitake and further braised them in black bean sauce, and I promise you that the end result is a bitter melon dish that will not be bitter at all. ♥

Braised Stuffed Bitter Melon in Black Bean Sauce

Here is how you would want to prepare your bitter melons. Cut to remove the two ends, then slice into 1 inch lengths. Remove the seeds with a knife/spoon to get bitter melon rounds. To remove bitterness from the melon, sprinkle liberally with salt and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash in cold water and drain.

Bitter melon rounds sprinkled with salt.

Next, combine all the stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl and left to marinade for 15 minutes.

The stuffing: ground pork, minced shiitake, corn starch, salt, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

With a small teaspoon, stuff the bitter melon rounds with the stuffing mixture. Try to make the bottom part lay flat while the top part is shaped like a dome. Once you are done with stuffing all the bitter melons, they are ready to be cooked.

Stuffed Bitter Melons

Braised Stuffed Bitter Melon in Black Bean Sauce

5.0 from 4 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 25 mins

Serves: 4


  • 500 gram bitter melon (about 3 to 4)
  • Stuffing
  • 200 gram ground pork
  • 2 dried shiitake, soaked in hot water until soft and spongy
  • 1 tablespoon corn/tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese: Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Braising sauce
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup of dried shiitake soaking liquid/water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water


  1. Remove the ends from the bitter melon and cut into 1 inch slices. Remove the seeds with a spoon/knife to get bitter melon rounds. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let rest for 15 minutes. Wash under cold water and drain. Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine all stuffing ingredients and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. With a teaspoon, stuff the bitter melon rounds with stuffing mixture, taking care to ensure the bottom part will lay flat while the top part have a dome shape. Repeat until all bitter melon rounds have been stuffed.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on medium. Fry the stuffed bitter melons (bottom part down) for 3 minutes until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Turn the heat to high, sauté garlic and chili until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add black bean sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, and shiitake soaking liquid and bring to a boil.
  7. Return the bitter melons into the frying pan, cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the melon is slightly translucent and the stuffing is fully cooked.
  8. Pour the corn starch mixture to thicken the sauce.
  9. Turn off heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.


  • Hsiao-Ting says:

    Hi Anita - thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I just made it for dinner and it was delicious! I undercooked the bitter melon but the sauce was good!

  • Mona L says:

    I have some mixture left, no bitter melon, can I freeze it or keep it for a few days?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Mona, yes it is okay to freeze the meat mixture.

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for the recipe Anita! It was fairly easy to make and was delicious. For me, the black bean sauce was extremely salty, so I'll probably cut that in half next time. It also took much longer than 15 mins. for the melon and pork to cook at low...maybe 30 mins. Maybe I didn't fry it long enough the first time?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Rachel, the time is just for guidance, but it is also possible that my stove cooking temperature is hotter than yours. But I am glad you still like the end result :)

  • Raziehl says:

    Since i moved here in Florida from Hawaii i cant find a chinesse restaurant that serves them. I tried your recipe and Wow!!! Its beyond my expectation... i love bittermellons so much, and this is the best.

    • Anita says:

      Yay! I'm so glad the recipe is to your liking. And it's always nice to know another fellow bitter melon enthusiast :)

  • Joe says:

    My wife is from Hawai'i and she grew up eating bitter melon (I'd never had it before). I've made your recipe for her a few times now, and she absolutely loves it. It makes her so happy. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Paul Chang says:

    What a delicious way to cook bitter melon! Your directions are spot-on and the recipe makes eating this super-healthy veggie a delight. I look forward to trying your many other recipes. With my appreciation, Paul (SoCal)

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