Charles Phan's Stuffed Bittermelon & Marinara

Charles Phan\'s Stuffed Bittermelon & Marinara
2 whole bitter melon
about 1.25 pounds total
10 oz ground pork
1 whole egg
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tbsp bread crumbs
exclude for paleo
1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 cup marinara sauce
homemade or Rao's Homemade
2 pinches red pepper flake
2 dashes fish sauce
  • large bowl
  • large skillet with lid
Because we've often seen bitter melon used in sautes, this recipe struck us as a fresh, new way to enjoy it. We'll usually make this dish when the bitter melon looks good at our local Japanese or Korean market.
Cut the bittermelon into 1 1/2-inch rings. Use a knife or measuring spoon to scoop out the core. Discard the core and reserve the rings.
Combine the pork, egg, cilantro, bread crumbs (if using) garlic, oil, fish sauce, and salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Snugly stuff each ring of bitter melon with the pork filling.
In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the stuffed bitter melon to the skillet, meat side down. (Work in batches to avoid crowding if needed.) Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
While the bitter melon cooks, warm the marinara sauce in a small saucepan. Add the chile flake and fish sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Flip the rings and cook them, covered, for another 2 minutes.
To plate, add the sauce to the plate then set the bitter melon rings on top. Serve and enjoy immediately.