It is believed that the ability to savour bittergourd builds up one's tenacity to overcome difficulties. Perhaps that's one reason why the legendary hardy Hakkas has made this dish their staple diet.
I had the privilege of observing my 84 year old aunt prepare her famous bittergourd dish when she was in town last year. The secret to getting rid of the tart and bitter taste of bittergourd is to marinate deseeded and sliced vegetable in a little salt for 10 minutes and then rinse it off.
Pan fry the sliced bittergourd without any oil and add a little sugar while stirring the vegetable. When partially cooked, push the bittergourd to the side of the pan. Fry garlic in oil till fragrant.
Prepare a separate stew pot. Pork ribs should either be seared or run through hot water to remove any unpleasant taste before putting into the stew pot. Add fried bitergourd and prawn that has been marinated in pepper and a little sugar before adding to the stew about 10 minutes before turning off the heat.