Goya chanpuru (An Okinawan style stir-fry featuring bitter melon)

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Broadcast date:July 26, 2013

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Beans & Tofu
  • Flour
  • Other

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・1 bitter melon (also known as goya or karela) weighing about 250 g
・1 block of tofu (300 g)
・1 egg
・2 tablespoons vegetable oil
・1 tablespoon soy sauce
・Salt & pepper


  1. Break the tofu into bite-sized chunks with your hands and drain well in a sieve.
  2. Slice the bitter melon in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane. Turn the halves so that the knobby side facing up, and slice thinly from either end to produce slices about 5 mm thick.
  3. Place the slices in a bowl, rub with a pinch of salt, and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then rinse in water and drain in a sieve.
  4. Beat the egg so that none of the white lumps are remaining.
  5. Heat a frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the chunks of tofu, one at a time, which you have patted with a clean towel. Let the tofu brown on one side at high heat. Do not stir. Once browned, turn and brown the other side.
  6. Once the tofu has browned on both sides, remove the tofu on to a plate.
  7. Reheat the same frying pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and fry the slices of bitter melon for 1 – 2 minutes over medium heat. Don’t overcook them to retain some texture.
  8. Slip the tofu back into the pan and stir. Then add the beaten egg. Give the ingredients a large stir, being careful not to break up the tofu.
  9. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Before serving, sprinkle with katsuobushi (shaved smoked bonito), if available.

Catch of the Day

Bitter Melons: A Way to Save Electricity!

Bitter melons (goya) are in season during the summer months.  They are not only a source of food.  The vines which produce these vegetables are also a welcome source of shade, providing a ‘green curtain’.  The vines such as the bitter melon can be trained to grow on netting outside windows to provide shade against the harsh summer sun, helping reduce the need for air-conditioning, and helping reduce the electricity bills.   Bitter melons are the most popular choice of vine for these so-called green curtains in Japan, because they are resistant to disease, and their pods can also be eaten.  You should try growing this vine for shade, if you can get some seeds or young plants. 

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