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how to cook 苦瓜(kugua)


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Take a 苦瓜 about 500-600g and slice it lengthways, remove core and seeds then cut it into even bite size pieces. Boil some water and drop in the 苦瓜 and boil for about 7-8 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold water. Heat a wok on high heat with a tablespoon of oil and toss the 苦瓜 until slight colouring occurs. Add a tablespoon each of soy sauce and sugar, plus a teaspoon of chilli oil for heat and 3/4 cup of water. Turn down heat, stir through and let simmer till the sauce is syrupy. Turn off heat taste and add more soy sauce/salt if desired, then drizzle through a little sesame oil. Plate and eat.

Should now taste a little less bitter.

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By the way, for most 苦瓜 dishes if you want to make it a little less bitter, just blanch the thing in boiling water and remove the membrane.

Here in Yunnan 苦瓜 is plentiful and cheap, so I’ve experimented quite a bit with it.

Another, less bitter, 苦瓜 favourite is this summer salad:

Cut in half lengthwise a 400g or so 苦瓜 and scoop out the core and seeds, then slice it thinly. Place 苦瓜 in a sieve or bowl and mix through 2 tsp of salt and let it sit for 20 minutes or so, till limp. Afterwards, rinse the 苦瓜 of the salt and press out as much moisture as you can without breaking it up. Whilst the 苦瓜 is sitting, deseed and finely shred a red chilli or two. Juice 2 or 3 limes and dissolve in a teaspoon of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt*. Take the chilli, sugared lime juice, and a tablespoon or more of dried raisins and mix through the 苦瓜. Chill thoroughly in the fridge and let the flavours combine. Roughly chop some walnuts so you get a heaped tablespoon (and toast them lightly in a moderate oven, if you got one or could be bothered. A pan will also work). When you want to eat it, take it out of the fridge, mix it, taste it and add more sugar, salt or lime juice to satisfaction. It should taste a balanced sweet, sour, salty and a little bitter. Sprinkle on the walnuts and enjoy.

*a variation on the lime dressing is to take equal parts sugar and rice wine vinegar and boil them up till the sugar dissolves completely, then chill in the fridge to make a dressing.

I still like it best though, fried in a very hot wok, lightly salted, and with a dribble of sesame oil. Crunchy, fresh and nature given bitter!

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I stir fry kugua with onion, garlic, black bean sauce, chili sauce, and a little oyster sauce plus your favorite meat. You can be creative. I find that my local kugua is not that bitter. If you find it too bitter to your liking, you can add less kugua and more of other ingredients. Cooking the kugua a little longer will soften the bitterness.

I tried kugua in a yummy filipino dish where they mix it with acorn squash, green beans, and shrimp sauce.

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You could try Okinawa style 苦瓜, look for recipes for Goya Chanpuru (ゴーヤチャンプル). Basically it is pork (or SPAM, people in Okinawa for some reason like SPAM), sliced 苦瓜, diced tofu, sliced carrots, and anything else you want fried with a bit of "dashi" (fish stock) and then mixed with scrambled eggs. I have always enjoyed this dish, the Dashi helps to cut the bitterness somewhat. However, I've only made it with Okinawan 苦瓜. Vietnamese 苦瓜 has a thicker melon area and I find it to be even more bitter.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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My mum usually used 苦瓜 to make 酿豆腐. She cuts the 苦瓜 equally in round shape and fill with minced meat (with seasoning) in the centre of the cutted 苦瓜. Next she fried the 苦瓜 with high temperature for a couple of minutes till the outer layer of the 苦瓜 and meat turned darker before frying. Then she put the half cooked 苦瓜 into a pot and add some water and slowly steams it. When is fully cooked the 苦瓜 will becomes softer and the bitter taste has reduced. It's very delicious!

Or you can just do simple way--- 苦瓜 + eggs. Fast and easy, plus tasty too!

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  • 3 months later...

if u cook it not so bitter, then it is not 下火。 because basiclly in TCM it is not the thing that 下火,it is the 'bitter part' of the thing that 下火。

i always cook it for myself which just need 苦瓜, oil, salt and 100ml chicken soup(u can use 鸡精 replace the soup).


2-big fire make the oil hot

3-put in some smashed garlic in to the hot oil gain its fragrance

4-three secounds after u fried the smashed garlic, put in the 苦瓜条 in to the hot oil and fry for about 3-5 mins

5-put in the chichen soup fry for 2 mins, close the lid and ture it to small fire for 3 mins.

6-shut the fire, and u get ur 清炒苦瓜


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