Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Seafood

(Photo by avlxyz/Flickr)
(Photo by avlxyz/Flickr)


3 medium-sized bitter gourds
375 g/12 oz fillet of firm white fish
125 g/4 oz raw prawns
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon egg white
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup peanut oil

2 tablespoons canned salted black beans
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup stock or water
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)


Slice off pointed ends of melon and discard, then cut into straight sections about 5 cm (2 in) long. With a small, sharp knife remove spongy centre and seeds, leaving small tubes of melon. Remove any skin and bones from fish.

Shell and devein the prawns. Put both into food processor and chop finely. Mix with salt, ginger, egg white and cornflour and fill sections of melon with the mixture, rounding filling on one end.

Heat oil and fry the melon rounded end down, until fish is firm and just turning golden. Transfer to plate.

Sauce: Rinse salted beans in a strainer under cold water for a few seconds, drain, mash with a fork. Mix with garlic and fry in remaining oil, stirring. Add sugar and stock or water and when simmering return pieces of melon to pan, rounded end upwards. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes.

Place melon on a plate, add cornflour mixed with a little cold water and stir until it boils and thickens. Spoon over melon and serve with rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)