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Bitter Melon Stir-Fry

Serves 4. This recipe calls for red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar for a bit more “bite.” but if you have a good Chinese rice wine feel free to substitute it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
* 1 pound bitter melon (about 1 1/4 melons)
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* a few drops sesame oil (optional)

To prepare the bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic.

Heat wok over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then splash with the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften. Stir in a few drops sesame oil if desired. Serve hot.

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