Monday, September 10, 2012

Stir-Fried Bitter Melon with Maine Lobster (serves 1-2)



My husband tells me that when he was a hard working poor graduate student at University of Florida he grew bitter melon and sold them to a local Asian grocery store. His parents told me he never seemed interested in growing anything when he was growing up. I think he took advantage of the climate and the abundance of sunshine making everything grow so well down in Florida. He decided to try to grow the fruits and vegetables that he noticed other international students were growing. When he was not stuck in the engineering lab he was out in his garden sweating over laborious farming work! We both love to eat bitter melons and we often buy them in Boston Chinatown or some other Asian stores. Our family friends, Cô Vân and her husband grow them in their beautiful huge back yard in a small town in Maine and they gave us this bitter melon and a bagful of other fresh vegetables when we visited. My mother made this dish recently with self picked crab meat and a little ground pork and it was delicious. Here I made it with Maine lobster meat and it is as tasty. Thank you Cô Vân and Uncle Roger!

Stir-Fried Bitter Melon with Maine Lobster (serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of canola oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 shallot or 1/4 of a small white onion
1 medium size bitter melon, washed, cut in half length wise, scooped out innards, sliced thinly
1 C Maine lobster meat, cut into bite size
2 large chicken eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp fish sauce
1 large pinch of black pepper

Method:

1) Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil a non-stick medium size over high heat
2) Add garlic and onion and turn down heat to medium, cook until onion is translucent.
3) Add bitter melon, 1/2 tablespoon oil and cook for 5-6 minutes.
4) Add lobster meat and cook for 1 minute.
5) Add fish sauce, pepper and eggs, cook for 1 minute or until the eggs are cooked.
6) Serve with rice.

bitter melons at the market
(Vietnam)
bitter melon
 washed, cut in half length wise,
scooped out innards, sliced thinly 
my "mise en place" (aka set up and ready for cooking)
cooked Maine lobsters
*If you find the bitter melon is too bitter for your taste, you may slice it thinly, wash it in salted water and then squeeze as much of the water out as you can.  This process helps rid some of the bitterness. However, my family loves the bitterness and we prefer to eat it as is.
*If you prefer not to use lobster or crab meat you may add a little ground pork, chicken or turkey. I have made it with just an egg without any meat/shellfish and it was delicious.

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