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  1. Preparation : Combine the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl. Mix them thoroughly. The hands are the best tool for this job. Cut the bitter melon into 1-inch slices; discard the end pieces. With a paring knife, trim out the insides. Lift them out. Stuff the cavity of each slice with a generous spoonful of stuffing. Arrange the stuffed pieces of vegetable on a plate and set the plate on a trivet in a wok over enough hot water to come within 1 inch of the plate. Cover the wok and steam the food for 20 minutes. Remove the platter and trivet. In a separate wok or pan, prepare the sauce. First heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil. Add the garlic and fermented black beans, stir for a minute, then add the Shaoxing wine, chicken stock and salt. Add the liquid that results from the steaming of the melon. Bring the mixture to a boil. Thicken with the dissolved cornstarch and flavor with sesame oil. Pour the sauce over the bitter melons and serve. Serves 2 as a main course. NOTE: Hom makes no mention of blanching although another bitter melon recipe in another book *does* say that it will cut the bitterness.


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