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Stir Fried Thai Bitter Melon (ผัดมะระใส่ไก่)
Bitter Melon is food typical of Thailand which originated in India and made it's way east and is now grown throughout the tropics, mainly Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Bitter melon, or momordica charantia is from the gourd family and grows on vines resembling cucumbers.
They have a very bitter flavor and as my wife reminded me they are often an acquired taste. The way she put it she has a, crocodile mouth, and other people won't like this recipe. My argument back was that if she likes it others might like too and that recent articles I've been reading have been saying the real reason vegetables may be good for us is that their bitterness is a defense mechanism which stresses our systems the way bodybuilding does, making us stronger as a result.
The argument is that for other species the bitterness of vegetables may be too hard on them and protect the vegetables so they can spread their seeds. If that is the case then it is possible that, as humans, our systems may be able to tolerate it and may even be stimulated by the defense of the vegetables.
Some supporting evidence is that bitter foods tend to stabilize our blood sugar, facilitate better calorie portioning and stimulate the liver to produce bile and help the body process fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K which can build up in our systems if not digested appropriately.
- • 2 Bitter melons.
- • 1 Big piece of chicken breast, sliced.
- • 1 tablespoon Chopped garlic.
- • 2 tablespoon Olive oil.
- • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce.
- • Lots of salt, about 2 Tbsp. (to wash the Bitter melon)
- Cut bitter melon halves, both horizontally and vertically, then thin slice them. A tip to make bitter melons less bitter is slice them as thin as you can; the thicker they are is the bitter they could be. Then wash the bitter melon with water and rinse the water off. Then add water and salt (about 2 TBSP) into a bowl of sliced Bitter melons, squeeze the Bitter melons and rinse off. Last, add more water and salt but this time you'll leave the Bitter melons sit in the bowl of water and salt about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- After soaking the bitter melons, rinse the salt water and again add cold water (only) to the bitter melons bowl. Squeeze water out from the bitter melon and put it on a plate.
- Heat Olive oil in a wok, wait until the oil is hot, then add chopped garlic in the wok, stir fry until the garlic is golden.
- Add sliced chicken breast, stir fry until the chicken is cooked.
- Add sliced Bitter melons in the wok, follow with a fish sauce, stir fry until the Bitter melons is cooked which is about 5-8 minutes.
- Serve the stir fired bitter melon with brown rice, some other healthy choice or as a side itself.