Bitter Melon Boats by Josh Montemayor of Nosh By Josh
BITTER MELON BOATS “AMPALAYA”
Ampalaya—Lola made me eat it, and I hated it as a child! But for whatever odd reason, I’ve converted and I can’t get enough of it as an adult. Can anyone else relate? Enjoy my recipe!
- JOSH MONTEMAYOR (@noshbyjosh on Instagram)
3 bitter melons, cut in half and cored (to reduce the bitterness: sprinkle the bitter melon with salt and let sit for 20 min. then rinse)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 in. (thumb sized) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 birds eye chili, finely minced (optional if you like spicy)
½ cup of cilantro. Separate stems from leaves. Mince stems, reserve leaves for garnish.
½ pound of ground meat of your choice (pork or ground chicken thighs work great)
1 egg, beaten
2 Chinese sausage links, sliced thinly
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
Let’s Get Cooking!
Combine ground meat, beaten egg, minced garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, and birds eye chili. Season with a pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and tsp. of sugar. Mix together thoroughly—don’t be afraid to use your hands!
Take the meat mixture and stuff the bitter melon boats. Set aside until ready to cook. (This is a great make ahead recipe if you want to do it a day or two ahead).
Heat a shallow sauté pan (one with a lid) on medium heat and add vegetable oil. Add the thinly sliced Chinese sausages into the pan, and let it render and remove sausage when crispy.
Add the bitter melon boats to the same pan, melon-side down first. Let the boats fry for 2 minutes on each side on medium heat.
With the lid ready in one hand, add a tbs spoonful of water to the pan and quickly place the lid on—this will allow the bitter melon boats to steam and cook in the sausage juices. Yummm. Cook under lid for 5 minutes.
TIP: Adjust the heat if it is too hot. But let the bitter melon boats cook under the lid. If the pan sounds a little dry, add another tbs of water and move the boats around to prevent the melon from burning.
Take the lid off. Check to see if meat has been cooked through. Remove the melon boats onto a serving plate with meat mixture facing upwards. Top with crispy pieces of Chinese sausage and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with rice! Enjoy ☺.