I suffered a major setback in my cooking journey today. I realized, to my horror, that I had left my notebook of recipes that I have been recording notes and recipes in for the last 7 or 8 year at the grocery store yesterday! I remember leaving it in the shopping cart and I had made a mental note not to forget to take it out before returning the cart. But of course, having the memory of a fruit fly these days, I left it behind, and being in France, the chances of recovering this precious notebook of mine is next to zilch! After realizing that the notebook was nowhere to be found in the house, I started bawling like I had just received news that my dog Elroy had just crossed the rainbow bridge. The thing is, this notebook is that precious to me. I’ve recorded recipes that my grandma had taught me before passing away, those that my mother taught me, those that I have learned since becoming a wife, recipes that I had been developing. Having already had a really emotionally tough week, this immense loss was just too much to handle this morning and I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to recover from this. Though I can now make some of those dishes in my sleep, there are many that I was still learning how to perfect.
Since there is nothing that I can do but wait until Monday to call to see if anyone was kind enough to have turned in my notebook because practically nothing is open in France on Sundays, I cooked to assuage my panic. I made bittermelon soup as well as sautéed bittermelon with egg because these dishes remind me of my mom and because my husband happened to pick up three really fresh ones at the market the other day.
I used to hate bitter melon when I was younger. Trying to get me and my brother to eat it, my mother would tell us that it was good for us and that she too didn’t like it as a kid. But, neither I nor my brother were able to get past the extreme bitter taste when we were kids, no matter how it was prepared. But, over the years, I did somehow get over that bitterness and have actually grown to like it. I only know how to prepare two dishes with this vegetable though- sautéed with eggs and soup. Generally, these dishes are eaten during family style meals served with at least one veggie dish, one soup dish, and a meat dish. In this post, I will share with you how to make the sautéed dish and the recipe for the bitter melon soup will follow in a different post. These pair really well with dishes, such as this, this, or even this.
Do y’all have any other dish suggestions for preparing bitter melon?
Khổ Qua Xào Trứng
sautéed bitter melon w/egg
1 onion, sliced
3/4 tspn nước mắm
salt and pepper to taste
After washing and drying the bitter melons, trim then ends and then cut them in half widthwise, then in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the inside. Then thinly slice the halves.
In a small bowl, using a fork or chopsticks, beat the eggs with some pepper and the nước mắm. Set aside.
Heat some oil over medium-high heat in a sautée pan. Add the onions and once fragrant, add the bitter melon. Season with some salt and pepper and continue stirring until they are cooked. You can tell they are cooked by the color-they begin to take on a brighter green color and become slightly translucent. Note: I speed up the cooking process by adding about half to one teaspoon of water to create some steam.
Once the bitter melon is cooked, add the egg and stir so that it becomes scrambled and is evenly distributed. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.
Best served with steamed rice, a meat dish, and a soup.