Bitter Gourd Braised Meat (苦瓜酿肉)



This is a simple household recipe and I believed most households will have their unique recipes. My wife likes this very much and my niece always offered to prepare for me when she is in Singapore…


I grew up eating this.. Nothing to shout about and it is not a tedious assignment. If not because of the illustration, I will not prepare it this way.. When I was young, we prepared this and cook it as soup , just this a pot of water, boiled into some simple yet delicious soup.


However, for picture taking purposes, it will definitely not looking good. The bitter gourd will look very mushy and colour will be unattractive. Since vegetable mixed rice store always have this dish and usually served with fermented black beans (豆豉), i have therefore decided to prepare the same way also.


There are too much variations in this recipe and please tailor to suit your family taste buds. The same method of preparation can also be used for another vegetable: luffa. As for the meat, you can add salted fish, or even water chestnuts to give some crunch bite. If you like crunchier bitter gourd, you can braise or steam shorter. If you like it mushy, you will need a much longer time. The only challenge is not to let the meat slipped out of the bitter gourd. 




  • 1 medium to big size bitter gourd
  • 500 grams of minced meat
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 2 cm long of ginger
  • 5 shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon of winter vegetable (optional)
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • PInches of salt
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped spring onion

Braising Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fermented black bean (豆豉)
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic



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  • Pound the ginger to extract the juice. Add it to the minced meat. Add all the other ingredients into the minced meat. Stir until well mixed. Let it marinate for about 1 hour. You can also consider to add salted fish and water chestnuts. But you will have to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

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  • Cut the bitter gourd into your desired height (Suggest about 3-4 cm height).. Either use the finger or a knife to scratch out the centre. If you do not like bitterness, try to get rid the white membrane as much as possible. The bitterness actually comes from this white membrane. Blanch in a pot of hot water with pinches of salt for about 5 minutes. The main purpose of this step can be omitted if you like bitterness. Put some meat into the cavity and make sure that the meat covered the holes by at least 1/2 cm. This is to prevent the meat slipped out the bitter gourd.  Steam the bitter gourd in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes or until the shape is firmed before proceed to the next step.

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  • In another pot, put 1 tablespoon of oil, sauté the minced garlic until fragrant. Add 1 cup of water followed by the fermented black beans and oyster sauce. Put in the bitter gourd. Add adequate water just enough to cover the bitter gourd. Bring to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the bitter gourd reach the desired texture. Adjust the sauce with additional seasonings, salt and etc. if required. For more flavourful bitter gourd, let it rest in the pot for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Best serve as a dish in a typical Chinese set meal.



This post belong to simple household dishes aimed to assist new house chefs who do not have a chance to learn this traditional dish at home. Variations are many, The concept have been shared and please feel free to add or minus the ingredients to suit your family taste buds. Remember, if you do not like it to be bitter, clear away the white membrane as much as possible and blanch longer in hot water. In the event your have minced meat left, you can just deep fried it and add together to the bitter gourd and braise together.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



4 thoughts on “Bitter Gourd Braised Meat (苦瓜酿肉)

  1. Thank you Kenneth for explaining bitter gourd. The white membrane is indeed incredibly bitter! I’ll give bitter gourd another try with this beautiful looking dish.

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