■ 450g|1lb bitter melon, de-seeded sliced and blanched

■ 2 large tomatoes roughly diced, approximately 320g|12oz

■ 1 large onion, finely chopped, approximately 160g|6oz

■ 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

■ 3/4 cup|180ml coconut milk separated

■ 1/4 cup|60ml water

■ 2 eggs

■ 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

■ 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

■ 225g|8oz minced pork

■ 1/2 teaspoon of balichão | shrimp paste or fish sauce

■ white pepper

■ salt


1. Cut the melons in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and the white membrane, slice to 2cm|3/4" thick pieces. Finely chop the onions and garlic separately, and roughly chop the tomatoes.

Mix  60ml|1/4 cup of the coconut milk with a 60ml|1/4 cup of cold water and then mix in the eggs.

2. To blanch the bitter melon; heat a pan of salted water to boiling, add the bitter melon slices, simmer for about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

4. In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil, on medium heat add the balichão or shrimp paste (if using fish sauce add this later), and stirring blend with the oil.  Add the onions and cook until softened, lower the heat and add the turmeric and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes before stirring through the chopped tomatoes, fish sauce if using, salt and pepper, simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Increase the heat and stir in the minced pork to blend. Reduce the heat, take a spoon of the hot sauce and mix into the coconut and egg mixture, then slowly add the mix to the pan a little at a time stirring quite quickly. Heat to a simmer, then add the bitter melon and cook 4-5 minutes. Lower the heat and stir through the remaining coconut milk before serving with steamed rice.

Macao Bitter Melon with Coconut-Turmeric Pork Recipe

Amargoso Lorcha

Prep: 10m | Cook: 40m |Serves: 4-5

Bitter Melon with Coconut-Turmeric Pork, this is a lightly spiced dish where the bitter melon is the star.

Bitter Melon with Coconut-Turmeric Pork

Recipe adapted from "Taste of Macau, Portuguese Cuisine on the China Coast", by Annabel Jackson, published by Hong Kong University Press 2003

Ingredient Spotlight

This dish is traditionally made with the Macao home-made variant of shrimp paste "Balichão".  Made from dried shrimp fermented with other ingredients this generally takes up to a month to mature.

For a quick (7 day) variant using Chinese shrimp paste a recipe is available