Steamed bitter melon with tofu stuffing which I am going to introduce to you in this post is one of many vegetarian dishes you can cook from bitter melons. Bitter melons are bitter, as the name indicates, but to my experience, after the bitterness you taste is a slight sweetness. Steaming will keep this taste of bitter melons original and when combined with the flavorful tofu stuffing and rich dressing sauce, this dish will have a delicately bitter-sweet taste that you cannot resist.
As you know, bitter melons are considered a cooling food which is good for your health. Therefore, on a hot summer day, your body will be cooled down a lot with a plate of this steamed bitter melon stuffed with tofu or a bowl of bitter melon soup. Bitter melons are also good against diabetes and obesity as suggested here. That’s why bitter melon tea is more and more popular these days. Obviously, there is no reason why you shouldn’t learn to love the bitter taste of bitter melons and eat them more often.
Steamed Bitter Melon with Tofu Stuffing Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Category: How to Cook
- Method: Steaming
- 1 bitter melon
- 200g firm tofu
- 4 oakwood mushrooms
- 4 wood ear mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon of finely-crushed black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of seasoning powder
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 3 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce
1. Preparing the bitter melon rings
You should choose bitter melons which are firm, bright green, without bruises or blemishes, and with fresh stems. Don’t choose dark green and too wrinkled ones. The darker the green color is, the bitterer the melons are. There are some ways to reduce the bitter taste of bitter melons but you cannot eliminate it completely. This is what make bitter melons stand out from the crowd. If you cannot stand the bitter taste of bitter melons, don’t eat them instead of trying to remove their distinguishing taste.
- Wash the bitter melon with water. If you are more cautious of pesticide, soak the bitter melon in slightly salty water for 10 minutes, then wash it one last time with water.
- Cut the bitter melon into slices of 5 cm thick, then use the back of a small knife or a spoon to scoop out the seeds and all white part to reduce the bitterness and make room for the stuffing. Some people like to slit open the bitter melon lengthwise then remove the seeds, but I prefer to make bitter melon rings for stuffing to get a nicer appearance.
2. Preparing the tofu stuffing
- Finely chop the wood ear and oakwood mushrooms.
- In a bowl, mash the tofu with a spoon until it is soft and smooth.
- Place the chopped mushrooms into the tofu bowl and season the mixture with a small amount each of black pepper, seasoning powder, soy sauce and oyster sauce.
- Mix the tofu well until everything is blended, then let the tofu mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes for it to absorb the condiment. The final tofu stuffing should be soft and thick so that it will become tender and a bit chewy after steaming.
3. Stuffing the bitter melon rings with tofu mixture
- Place a bitter melon ring on your scooping hand.
- Stuff the hole of the ring with tofu mixture, bit by bit.
- Use your thumb to press the stuffing to make sure no air is left inside. The stuffing should form like a bump on the surface. It looks more appealing this way.
- Repeat to stuff all the remaining bitter melon rings.
4. Steaming the stuffed bitter melon rings
- Place the stuffed bitter melon rings on a plate and put the plate into a steamer.
- Steam them for 5 to 10 minutes. Bitter melons can be eaten raw, so you don’t need to steam for a long time, except that you want the bitter melon to be really soft.
- While the stuffed bitter melon is on steaming, we will make dressing sauce.
5. Making dressing sauce
- In a non-stick frying pan, mix 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons of tomato sauce with ½ teaspoon each of black pepper, seasoning powder, and sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of water if the mixture is too thick.
- Cook the mixture under low heat until it is thickened like syrup.
- This rich flavor of dressing sauce will bring your vegetarian steamed bitter melon with tofu stuffing to a next level.
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