19 October 2015

Goya Chanpuru

It's been 2 weeks since my vacation to Tokyo, and I have to say, I really miss Tokyo very much :(

Been a walking zombie since my return and didn't have the motivation to do anything, not even edit photos for the blog. I blame it on the haze and humid weather. The weather in Tokyo was cool and air was crisp, it felt so good there, food was delicious, shopping was great... I digress :p

As always, I had to buy some grocery and vegetables back, because they were so much cheaper as compared to prices in Japanese supermarkets here. Take for example, a large daikon (white radish) cost less than $4, whereas Isetan supermarket is selling medium size ones at $9+. Same goes for carrot, potato etc, and Japanese vegetables really taste much sweeter with better texture. But in SG, I really cannot bare to spend so much as there are cheaper alternatives; so every time I go Japan, it's so hard to resist the temptation to lug back some vegetables! Seriously I didn't buy that much, just the hardy root vegetables like, a daikon, 3 carrots, a bag of baby taro, some young burdock, a section of mountain yam, 2 goya (bitter gourd)... that's all and I gave some to my mum and MIL.

In Japan, people like to eat bitter gourd dishes during summer to revitalise energy and boast appetite. This particular dish, Goya Chanpuru is a very popular Okinawan home-style dish which is quick and easy to whip up. Ingredients are bitter gourd, pork belly or spam, firm tofu, egg, and seasonings are simple like soy sauce, miso and sesame oil.

The skin of Japanese bitter gourd is much rougher/uglier than the ones we see at local markets here, although I did see similar miniature ones before. One of these days I must try to see if they are the same. It's important to treat the bitter gourd before cooking to remove some bitterness. Basically cut the bitter gourd lengthwise then use a spoon to scrape off the white pith as much as possible. Next, boil some water with salt, blanch the bitter gourd and ready to use!

Goya Chanpuru (Stir Fry Bitter Gourd with Pork and Tofu)
(serves 3-4)

  • 1 bitter gourd
  • 200g pork belly
  • 300g firm tofu
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking sake
  • 1 tsp miso
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • Handful of bonito flakes (optional)
  1. Cut the bitter gourd lengthwise, use a spoon to scrape off as much white pith as possible. Cut the bitter gourd into 0.5cm thickness. Boil some water, add a tsp of salt and blanch the bitter gourd for a minute. Drain and set aside.
  2. Drain water from the tofu, use a heavy object to press onto tofu for 10 mins to remove additional liquid. Cut into big cubes and set aside.
  3. Slice pork belly thinly and cut into bite-size pieces (I bought pre-sliced ones from supermarket).
  4. Add a tbsp of oil into frying pan, once hot, add pork belly and stir fry till opaque.
  5. Add bitter gourd and tofu and give them a quick stir fry.
  6. Dissolve the miso in cooking sake, then add the mixture together with soy sauce and dash of sesame oil into the frying pan. Give all the ingredients a quick toss.
  7. Lightly beat the egg and pour over the ingredients, give a quick toss. Plate and top with some bonito flakes if desired. Best served hot.

I like to top the dish with some bonito flakes, it enhanced the overall taste. Although the dish doesn't seem that appealing visually, it's very tasty and wholesome. Give this humble dish a try!

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