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Bitter Melon Stir-Fried with Egg and Pepper (Goya Champuru)

from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Bitter Melon Stir-Fried with Egg and Pepper

3 small to medium bitter melons (goya), about 1 pound
2 small dried chile peppers (japones or arbol)
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
3/4 teaspooon sea salt

Serves 6

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in
Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu


Goya Champuru is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. Goya is the Okinawan word for "bitter melon" and champuru is Okinawan for "stir-fry." Goya looks more like a cucumber than a melon and has the texture of a hard zucchini. This champuru combines four tastes into an explosive finale: bitter (goya), sweet (egg), hot (red pepper), and salt. My husband often whips up champuru for a bite to eat with drinks before dinner in summer. We review the day while standing around the counter, pinching up bright green and yellow mounds of champuru with our chopsticks as soon as Tadaaki turns it into a waiting pottery bowl.

Slice the bitter melons in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the ends and slice crosswise into 1/8-inch (3-mm) half-rounds.

Tear the chile peppers in half or thirds and reserve in a small bowl. Break the eggs into another bowl and whisk with a fork or chopsticks. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and drop the chile peppers into the hot oil. Immediately decrease the flame to low and fry the peppers to infuse the oil. Throw in the bitter melon slices and toss over high heat until no longer raw (about 4 minutes or so). Add the salt as you are cooking the bitter melon.

Mix in the beaten egg and toss quickly as the egg curds form. Remove from the heat when the eggs are still not quite set. Stir until just set and turn into a medium-sized serving bowl. Eat hot.

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