Braised Stuffed Bitter Melon in Black Bean Sauce

5.0 from 13 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 mushrooms.
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, or tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce, try Pearl River Bridge light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Braising sauce
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili (cayenne or Fresno), 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 cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water


  1. Prepare shiitake. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water (~ 1 hour) or cold water (~ 8 hours) until soft and spongy, then squeeze, remove the stems, and chop into small pieces. Reserve the soaking liquid for the braising sauce.
  2. Prepare bitter melons. 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.
  3. Prepare the stuffing. In mixing bowl, combine all stuffing ingredients and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  4. Stuff bitter melons. 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 has a dome shape. Repeat until all bitter melon rounds have been stuffed.
  5. Cook Chinese stuffed bitter melons. Heat 2 tablespoons 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.
  6. Turn the heat to high, sauté garlic and chili until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add black bean sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, and shiitake soaking liquid and bring to a boil.
  8. 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.
  9. Pour the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.
  10. Turn off heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Another great recipe by