Mee Pok with Minced Pork and Bitter Gourd
150g minced pork
1½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 1½ tablespoons cold water
100g bitter gourd (Use the large ones. Small bitter gourds are very bitter.)
2 nests of fresh mee pok noodles (Sold in the refrigerated section in supermarkets.)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
½ cup water
2 spring onions, finely chopped
- In a small bowl, mix the minced pork with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
- Cut the bitter gourd in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and white pith with a spoon. Cut into thin slices. Put the gourd in a bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, massaging it in to remove excess bitterness. Let sit for 15 minutes or so, then rinse off the salt and drain well. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the noodles and swish them around with wooden chopsticks to prevent them from sticking to the pot. It will take no more than 1 minute to cook the mee pok, so have a colander ready. When they are done, pour the noodles into the colander, rinse them in cold water, and drain well. Set aside.
- Heat a wok and pour in the canola oil. Toss in the garlic, stir-frying until fragrant and then, add the seasoned minced pork, cooking until its colour has changed—about 3 minutes. Then, add the bitter gourd and cook for a further 3 minutes before seasoning with the soy and oyster sauces. Add the water. When it comes to a boil, stir in the remainder of the cornstarch mixture (depending on how thick you like your sauce, you may not need to use all of it) until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the noodles and mix well, letting it braise for a couple of minutes. Garnish with spring onion and serve.
If you want to reduce the bitterness of the gourd even more, just drop it into boiling water for a couple of minutes after rinsing off the salt.