I had three small bitter melons ready to be harvested from my backyard garden. It wasn’t quite enough to make a stir fry so I pondered what to do. I had a little bit of ground pork in the freezer so I decided to try and make a stuffed black bean garlic bitter melon side dish for dinner. I sliced the bitter melon into 1-inch chunks and scraped out the seeds in the center. (I saved the seeds and put them back in the garden in hopes to keep the bitter melon patch going.) I let the sliced bitter melon chunks sit in some salt for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I mixed the ground pork with some green onions, shiitake, and Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce.
I then stuffed the pork mixture in the slices of bitter melon and placed it in a heated, oiled saucepan for a few minutes. Once the bottom is browned, I added a bit of water with a bit more black bean garlic sauce in it and covered the pot and steamed it for about 15 minutes until the pork and the bitter melon is cooked through.
Garden to table. Living Hilo Style.