Just a quick bitter melon idea for Radical Family Farms. Bitter Melon is new to many of their CSA members and finding new ways to cook with it can be difficult. Here is an easy recipe which loosely resembles a Korean Jap Chae in texture and flavor, something like a cooked noodle salad. This recipe uses Oyster Sauce but you could use Mushroom Sauce or even Hoisin sauce instead for a vegan option. And as for the tatsoi, you could also substitute with another delicate leafy green like baby spinach, arugula, sorrel or micro greens.
Bitter Melon, Carrot & Mushroom with Vermicelli Noodles
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 Bitter Gourd, about 8″ long or 2-3 small, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
8-10 small Mushrooms, Straw, Button, etc, cut in half
1 medium Carrot, julienned
A small handful of Tatsoi leaves, or other delicate leafy greens, roughly chopped.
1 bundle (about 50g) of dried Vermicelli Noodles or Bean threads, soaked for 30 minutes in warm water and drained
2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh Red Chili, finely chopped (optional)
Green Onion, chopped, for garnish
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Heat some canola oil in a wok at medium-high heat and stir fry the garlic until fragrant.
Add the bitter melon, carrot and mushrooms and stir fry for a few minutes, until al dente.
Quickly and roughly cut into the pile of soaked and drained vermicelli noodles with some large kitchen scissors 2-3 times. They won’t be even lengths but that’s ok.
Add the noodles and tatsoi to the wok along with the sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce and toss everything together for a couple more minutes. I find using chopsticks in one hand and a spatula in the other is the most effective for tossing and stir frying noodles, but c’est moi. At this point you’ll feel the sauce beginning to dry out. Add the sesame oil and some sea salt to taste before tossing one last time to evenly coat the ingredients.
Take off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl with some chopped green. onions on top.