• Wok-Tossed Bitter Melon with Duck Egg & Miso


Bitter is the new black: exploring the fourth taste.

By Andrew Zimmern

A recipe from my cooking demonstration at the 2014 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Wok-Tossed Bitter Melon with Duck Egg & Miso


Bitter Melon

  • 4 cups sliced bitter melon. I like to use melons that are smoother with less pronounced dimpling.
  • 1 duck egg plus one yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 dried hot chiles
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salted fermented black beans soaked for an hour in 2 tablespoon rice wine

Miso Sauce

  • 2/3 cup miso paste (red or brown is fine, just use an imported Japanese brand, an all-natural product, Westbrae is American miso, so it doesn’t count!)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 7 tablespoons sake
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dashi (Japanese bonito stock…you can use instant for this)


The Bitter Melon

Cut the melons in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and cut into thin slices.

Place the melon slices in a bowl, and sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoon of salt. Massage the salt gently into the melon. Let rest for 15 minutes, then wash and drain. Pat dry, to remove the salt and bitterness.

In another bowl, lightly beat eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt together. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large wok on high heat. Sauté garlic, shallots, chiles, until fragrant, then add the sugar. Add the black beans and rice wine, mix well, and cook for another 1 minute.

Add the bitter melons into the pan, mix well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour the eggs into the pan. Once the eggs start to become less runny, give it a quick stir. And once the eggs set, turn off heat and serve immediately, dolloping with a room temperature shot of the miso sauce. Garnish with minced scallion and cilantro. 

Miso Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler, whisking over water that is slowly boiling, until eggs have set and the sauce is ‘thick.’

Chill and utilize, hot or cold, as a sauce for fish, chicken, beef, or veg.

NOTE This can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.


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