Stir-Fried Chicken with Bitter Melon and Black Bean Sauce

Chicken and Bitter Melon with Black Bean Sauce

This is a very simple dish that H makes often. You can switch the chicken for beef strips or even ground pork or ground beef.  It re-heats well, and is one of our favorites.

Bitter Melon

As its name states, bitter melon is bitter; however, it is very healthy for you.  It has been used for medicinal purposes, contains anticancer compounds, and is anthelmintic, antimalarial, antiviral, and cardioprotective to name a few.  No wonder I feel good about eating this dish!

Warning:  Do not eat the seeds.

Bitter melon can be found in all Asian grocery stores (and most regular grocery stores).  You’ll find it in the vegetable section.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bitter Melon & Black Bean Sauce

Serves 4


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 ½ tsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium to large sized bitter melons, washed, dried, seeded and cut into 1 inch slices (China phenotype variation)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp Black Bean Garlic Sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • 1 tbsp light Soya Sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar (try using 1/2 tsp and adjust to your preference)
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup cold water in a small bowl, set aside
  1. Place chicken and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix and set aside
  2. In a large deep skillet or wok, heat oil to high heat
  3. Add marinated chicken and stir, cook until no longer pink in color
  4. Place in a clean bowl and set aside
  5. Add 1 tsp oil to skillet
  6. Add garlic and ginger, stir for a few minutes, do not allow garlic to burn
  7. Add bitter melon slices, stir for a few minutes until lightly sautéed
  8. Add black bean sauce, chicken broth, light soya sauce and sugar, mix to combine
  9. Add cooked chicken (along with juices)
  10. If you are using beef, leave out until the last minute so you don’t overcook the beef
  11. Place lid on wok or skillet and continue to cook over medium heat until the bitter melon has softened, 5-8 minutes, depending on your taste (we like our veggies crunchy)
  12. Turn heat to medium high; add cornstarch slurry, a little at a time, until sauce has thickened
  13. Throughout this process, if your sauce has evaporated, add a little more chicken broth, a bit at a time
  14. If using beef, add it in now and stir
  15. Remove from heat and enjoy with steamed rice

Kitchen note:

  • Sprinkle with diced green onions (optional)

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