Amargoso Lorcha


Stuffed Bitter Melon

The lorcha was a small fighting sailing vessel of shallow draft that was designed and used in Macau and elsewhere in the Far East for transportation and for protecting shipping from pirates. The shape of the stuffed bitter squash (also called bitter melon) is reminiscent of the lorcha.

Amargoso Lorcha from J. Bosco Correa

3 amargoso (approx. 600g)

200g minced pork

1 large onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

3 tbsp tomato paste

tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp balichão

1 egg

400 ml coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste

Wash the amargoso well and slice it in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Parboil for 2 to 3 minutes until the amargoso is bright green but not cooked. Rinse in cold running water to be rid of the bitterness.

Fry the garlic and onions in the oil until they are half cooked. Add the balichão and turmeric and continue to cook for about 3 minutes then add the tomato paste and fry until quite dry. Let the mixture cool down and mix it in well with the minced pork.

Slightly beat the egg and mix this in with the pork mixture to bind. Fill each amargoso with the stuffing.

Separate the coconut milk into two equal portions. Mix one portion with an equal measure of water and boil this in a fairly large pan, laying in neatly the stuffed amargoso. The liquid should be able to just cover the amargoso. Allow it to simmer gently for 30 minutes until cooked. Then add the balance of the coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove the amargoso to a serving plate and bring the sauce to a quick boil, stirring a few times. Pour sauce over the amargoso and serve.

Amargoso Lorcha from Guilly” Canavarro Remedios

We have not yet tested this recipe. It is recorded here to allow experimentation and verification.

3 amargoso (1 cate | 600g | 1 lb 5 oz)

1½ tomatoes, seeded and cut

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp balichão

2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

¼ – ½ coconut juice

½ lb | 220g minced pork

2 eggs

salt and pepper

Wash the amargoso and if you want to take the bitterness away, scrape off lightly the green on the outside. Cut into halves lengthwise or across and remove the seeds. Boil till tender and drain.

Scrape off the coconut flesh and get from it as much juice as possible, say 1 pint | 600ml, and reserve the oily part till later.

Heat I tbsp lard, fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add onions and fry till half tender. Add the balichão and turmeric, fry for 5 minutes, then put in the tomatoes and fry all till quite dry.

Let it cool a little, add the raw minced pork, mix well and season. Beat lightly 1 egg and mix together to bind.

Fill the amargoso with the stuffing. Boil the thinner coconut juice in a fairly large pan and lay the amargoso neatly in it. The liquid should be just enough to cover the amargoso. Simmer gently for ½ hour, then add the thick coconut juice.

Before serving, array the amargoso neatly on a dish. Bring the gravy to the boil, stir just a couple of times and pour over the amargoso.

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