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Trying to re-create a dish "Grouper with Bitter Melon"

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I had this dish at the Yummy House here in Sarasota (Chinese cuisine) and it was so delicious that I am intent on re-creating it at home. It had chunks of grouper mixed with chunks of bitter melon and it was in a brown sauce. It was intensely flavored: a little bit sweet i think, somewhat salty, complexly pungent, with a little bit of tang. The bitterness of the melon and the meatiness of the fish and the flavor of the sauce all seemed to play off of each other perfectly. Not sure if I should simply stir fry it or make it like clay-pot style (it seemed like it could have been cooked either way, not sure). I'm thinking it may have been in a black bean garlic sauce base, but I'm not certain. Anyway, does anyone have ideas for ingredients/technique to make this? Has anyone tried this same dish or a similar one? Of course it doesn't have to be an exact replica, but something close would be ideal. I have a pretty well stocked Chinese pantry so I should have the majority of ingredients needed to make it on hand. Thanks all

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  1. I'm thinking it may have been in a black bean garlic sauce base, but I'm not certain....

    That's the traditional sauce for bitter melon.

    2 Replies
      1. re: vonshu

        I would be happy with simple ginger, garlic and scallions.....flash fried with hot oil and simply dressed with soy sauce.

        for the fish....

        * pan fried, with seasoned cornstarch, rice flour, or not... or steamed whole

        * for fillets or sliced...I would coat with corn starch....or for a very crispy texture, rice flour. The coated fish will hold up better to cooking.

        * instead of a brown sauce, you can make a light white sauce with wine and simply add the fermented black beans that have be re hydrated in warm water.

    1. Can you browse these images and see if any look right?

      http://bit.ly/17s5E1v

      http://bit.ly/17s5IhI

      http://bit.ly/17s5WWb

      googled: 芝麻斑 苦瓜

      1. I've never had fish and bittermelon, but it sounds tasty. Grouper is delicate so I wouldn't do much more than marinate it in a combination of Shaoxing wine, ginger, cornstarch and maybe soy sauce.

        The bittermelon I would de-seed, being sure to scrape some of the white pith from inside, before salting for 10 minutes. Rinse slice and then stir fry the fish and bittermelon with a sauce built from garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, black bean and sugar. If you sprinkle the sugar on the bittermelon before stir frying not only will it amplify the natural sweetness of the fish, but it will assist with caramelization and giving your stir fry a smokey flavor.

        1. Vonshu- Tried the bitter melon with grouper yesterday as a takeout. Not based on your recommendation. But I was inquisitive to try something new. Wow. It was BITTER. Not my cup of "tea".

          But I do enjoy the yummy house. I find their food flavorful and fresh.

          Anybody have any other recs of dishes.