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Stir-fried beef with bitter melon

Green beans that grow a yard long and also come in purple; melons that look like spiny cucumbers and when ripe turn bright orange, with huge pomegranate-red seeds; squash that can be eaten like zucchini when it's young or used ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 4
  • 5 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 pound sirloin tips, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 firm bitter melon (about 3/4 pound)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar

Step 1Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the soy sauce in a medium bowl and marinate the beef in this mixture for 10 minutes.

Step 2Prepare the bitter melon: Cut it lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds and slice on an angle one-fourth-inch thick (you should have about 3 cups).

Step 3In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and saute the garlic until golden, 5 to 10 seconds.

Step 4Stirring well after each addition, add the marinated meat, bitter melon, fish sauce and sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the melon is soft but not mushy and its bitterness has mellowed a bit, 6 to 7 minutes. Serve with lots of rice.

Note: From "The Elephant Walk Cookbook" by Longteine De Monteiro and Katherine Neustadt.
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