1Cut 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.
2Heat sesame oil in clay pot, stir fry tau cheo & fermented black beans until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3Add chicken pieces, bitter gourd, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the chicken is no longer pink on the surface.
4Season 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.
Chicken and dumplings are a notoriously time-consuming enterprise, but the end result is very much worth the effort. However, if you're a time-crunched cook who craves the comforting pleasures of this classic dish, this is the recipe for you.