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Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd


Cut bittergourd (step 1)

Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd Recipe

If you do not have a claypot, you can still cook this dish using a regular wok or pot.

Serves: 3-4

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins


  • half bitter gourd/bitter melon (about 300-400g)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp tau cheo (soya bean paste)
  • 1/2 tbsp black fermented beans rinsed, patted dry and mashed slightly with a fork
  • 1/2 chicken cut to small pieces (you can also use chicken thighs and other cuts)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled & bruised
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Chinese wine (Hua Tiao/Shao Hsing)
  • light soy sauce to taste; optional
  • salt to taste

(A) Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. Cut the bitter gourd in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrap out the seeds and white pulp. Rub some salt on the flesh portion and leave for a few minutes before rinsing the salt off. This will remove some of the bitterness (skip this step if you like it bitter). Slice the bitter gourd in half lengthwise again, then cut it to 2.5cm (1 inch) vertical slices.
  2. Heat sesame oil in clay pot, stir fry tau cheo & fermented black beans until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add chicken pieces, bitter gourd, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the chicken is no longer pink on the surface.
  4. Add sauce (A) ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Cover claypot with lid and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with light soy sauce or salt, if needed. If you like, add a splash of Chinese wine to the cooked stew as a finishing touch, and off the flame when you smell the lovely aroma of the wine.

Noob Cook Tip

If your claypot is not big enough to stir fry the chicken and bittergourd, stir fry them in a wok first (steps 2-4) and then transfer the contents of the wok to a clay pot to simmer.

Leave a Comment

30 Responses to “Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd”

  1. Lan — October 20, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    i am curious about the use of the bitter gourd. you mention that the salt takes some of the bitterness away, how much exactly? and is the rest of the dish bitter in anyway?

    personally, i love bittergourd, in small doses and would like to introduce it to my american boyfriend but it has to be a right dish to ensure he’ll try it again…


    • wiffy replied: — October 20th, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

      yes it takes away some but not all of the bitterness, maybe about 1/3? If you cut the bitter gourd to chunks first and apply salt to the exposed area, more bitterness can be removed. Some people also par boil the bitter gourd in salted water, but I personally don’t like that method. The gravy has a slight bitter taste, the chicken is not bitter.


  2. Anna — October 20, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Wow! A traditional claypot! That sounds interesting…Hmmmm…bittergourd? I know it is very nutritious but not really a fan of it. I have learned though that if it has been soaked in water it becomes less bitter in taste, not sure if the nutrients get washed off along the process. This recipe looks good though, quite agressive! Thanks for sharing!


  3. masterofboots — October 20, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Does a claypot take very long to start cooking (like slow cooker)? If not, i think i will go and buy one. It would be so nice to cook and serve in one :P


    • wiffy replied: — October 20th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

      No, it’s about the same as heating up a normal pot. But instead of using high heat right away, start with medium flame to heat up the pot, then gradually increase the temperature. At least that’s what I do, in case the sudden change in temperature cause the clay pot to break.


  4. food-4tots — October 21, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    I haven’t eaten bitter gourd for a long time because I have a picky eater (senior) who refuses to try it no matter what. :(


  5. lisaiscooking — October 25, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    Clay pot cooking is so lovely. I’ve been reading about clay pots used for Moroccan food lately. They hold heat so well, and they look great. This dish does sound like total comfort food!


  6. maria danisa d. gonzales — July 19, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

    how can we proceed/make that claypot chicken w/ bitter gourd if we didnt have an sesame oooilll?

    are the claypot chicken w/ bitter gourd are tasty,aren’t it?


  7. dvdhen — July 27, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

    i a like this recipe but can you show me how get rid of the bitter tatse..


  8. Wendy — August 18, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    Just cooked this dish today and it smelled heavenly! I learned from a book that we should ‘scald’ the bittergourd and chicken in hot oil first before cooking it in the claypot to preserve the moisture as well as retain the shape :)


    • wiffy replied: — August 22nd, 2012 @ 10:39 am

      that is a great tip, thanks for sharing! I think all zi char scald most of the ingredient before stir-frying first, but I won’t do it for home-cooking because of the work, lol



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