Monday, February 24, 2014

Recipe: Chinese braised chicken with bitter gourd 苦瓜鸡

A couple of months ago, we bought a bitter gourd, cooked it and threw some of the seeds into our garden. To our surprise, a bittergourd plant sprouted and before long, we made our first bittergourd harvest. Thanks to this bittergourd plant, we have had at least a dozen homegrown bitter gourds to cook with :)

Chinese braised chicken with bitter gourd 

Bitter gourd or melon is a green,edible vegetable which is crunchy and very bitter. Its flowers are yellow in colour and the plant thrives in hot, humid conditions. It has many health benefits such as lowering blood glucose in diabetics. Baby D likes harvesting the bitter gourds from our garden.

 Baby D checking if the plant is big enough to harvest

Yellow flowers

Our homegrown bitter gourd 苦瓜

One of our favorite ways of cooking and eating bitter gourd is to braise it with chicken breast chunks. These two ingredients are braised with mushroom sauce and ginger wine. I also like adding some coarse black pepper which accentuates the flavours of the dish. The braising sauce is also super delicious on some white rice.

Chinese braised chicken with bitter gourd 苦瓜鸡
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 13-15 minutes
Serves 2-3

200g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 bittergourd (about 350g), washed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
150ml water
1/2 tsp ginger wine
1 1/2 tbsp mushroom sauce
1/8 tsp coarse black pepper
Salt, to taste

1. Trim the ends off the bittergourd, then cut into half. Then cut again into half lengthwise, and using a spoon, scoop out the seed cavity. Then cut into 1cm pieces (it will be shaped like a crescent).

2. In a wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and stir fry for about 1 1/2 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the chicken and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add the bittergourd and stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add the water and bring to the boil. Add the mushroom sauce, ginger wine and coarse black pepper and braise for about 6-8 minutes until you achieve your preferred doneness. The bittergourd should be soft on the outside with a slight bite in the centre.

3. Season with more salt as necessary, then serve with white rice.

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  1. Wow!!! Freshly-plucked! I think the leaves can be eaten too, if I'm not wrong.

  2. baby d looks super-cool in these pics! :) bitter gourd is something i used to hate as a kid, and i refused to eat it, but in recent years, i've learned the error of my ways, and i now actually enjoy and appreciate bitter gourd. i love the look of your dish, the bittergourd looks juicy and vivid :D

  3. Yen, I am very impressed with your bittergourd harvest! I should do the same and see if anything grows hah..hah..Love your dish. I used to cook it with black bean sauce but can't seem to get the Lee Kum Kee brand for some time already.

  4. You actually planted your own bitter gourd?! That's damn awesome and cool weih!

  5. That's fantastic that it is so easy to grow! And your boy looks so cute in the sunnies :D

  6. Yen, you are so "geng," even have home-grown bitter gourds! I haven't had bitter gourd for a long time & didn't dare to buy during the 15 days of CNY, so I only bought 1 yesterday coz my kids don't eat it, just Will & I.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Yen, it's only recently I come to appreciate bitter gourds. They are so yummy indeed, even just with egg only.Thumbs up to your homegrown bitter gourds dish! :)

  8. I love bitter gourd! Can stir fry and can use for soup, I wish I can find some here.

  9. Thanks. Will try out the recipe. Good harvest of bittergourd. How long did it takes to hv fruit.?

    1. I can't really rmbr, but I think around 4-5 weeks. The good thing is you don't really need to do much with the plant, just need to water it.

  10. Hi Yen, how nice to have your own homegrown bitter gourd!! I, too love the braised chicken with bitter gourd. Love it with some gravy as I like to mix the gravy with steamed rice. You have a wonderful day ahead and cheers :)

  11. Beautiful homegrown bitter gourds! And delicious dish!
    I used to plant them too. Planning to grow them again as soon as my messy small garden is cleared, but the weather is so darn hot, that I kept putting my gardening off!

  12. Wow i simply love that you can grow your own vegetables!

  13. Homegrown bitter gourds, that's awesome. My mom used to grow this gourd too and now we have shifted to new place with limited land.

  14. Ahahaha! Baby D is picking up bitter gourds in style! :D I love it. Braised chicken and bitter gourd - sounds delicious!

  15. Where can I get ginger wine? Can you please recommend the brand? May I substitute with other type of wines?

    1. Hi Evelyn. I usually use Eu Yan Sang ginger wine (sometimes called confinement wine on the bottle).
      You may also replace with Shao Xing Wine if you have that.


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