Basic ingredients for the Okinawa Bittergourd Dish
Okinawa Bittergourd Stirfry
Good evening, dear friends 😀
For the past week, I have not been cooking much as I have somehow lost my “cooking wind” and instead, we have been eating out at food courts, or at the shopping malls. During one of our dinners at a Japanese restaurant where we have been frequenting for the last 10 years and we know the lady boss there very well, my husband was recommended this bittergourd dish. It was very tasty and the lady boss told us that this is a traditional Japanese recipe from her husband’s hometown in Okinawa. Best is she gave us this really simple and healthy recipe and I was able to cook it last Sunday for my family.
From young, I have often been told that eating bittergourd is really good for our health and that it helps to “cool” our body system when we are experiencing heatiness. So, before I posted this, I did some research in the Net and found out that eating bittergourd really has quite a lot of nutritional benefits for us, that is, if you don’t mind its slightly bitter taste. Personally, I don’t know why but I just love eating bittergourds and I would especially look for them when buying “Yong Tau Foo” (Tofu and Vegetables stuffed with Fish Paste).
Bittergourd is also known as bitter melon, or Karela in India, or Fu Kwa in Cantonese. Many home style recipes here have bittergourd in soups with sliced pork, a stirfry with black beans and chicken, in an omelette, or stuffed with fish paste and pan fried.
Some health benefits of the bittergourd are –
1) it is high in iron, twice the beta-carotene of brocolli, twice the calcium in spinach, twice the potassium of bananas and rich in Vitamin C, B1 and fibre.
2) it known for its curative properties since ancient times and is known more as an alternative remedy for maintaining blood sugar levels, and therefore a home remedy for diabetes mellitus.
3) it can treat skin disorders, piles, and even alcoholism. Drinking its juices can treat the earlier stages of cholera and mild diarrhoea.
4) it aids in purifying the blood tissue, aids in digestion, and stimulates the liver.
However, pregnant women are advised not to eat bittergourd as it could stimulate contractions.
Here is the recipe for the Okinawa Bittergourd Stirfry :-
2 small green bittergourd, cut into half lengthwise, deseeded, sliced thinly
2 eggs, beaten lightly with 1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of ham or luncheon meat, cut into 1-cm strips
2 pips of garlic, chopped
2 tbsps of Japanese soy sauce and pepper to taste
2 tbsp of oil
1) To remove some of the bitterness of the bittergourd, put the slices of bittergourd into a bowl and rub in 1 tsp of salt. Let stand for about 15 minutes and then rinse quickly under tap water. Let stand in a colander to dry.
2) In a non-stick pan, heat up the oil and fry garlic until golden in colour.
3) Add in sliced ham or pork luncheon meat, and stirfry for 1 minute.
4) Add in bittergourd slices and stirfry for about 2-3 minutes until half cooked.
5) Pour in the beaten eggs, let stand for about 1 minutes and then stirfry continuously until the eggs are scrambled finely and cooked.
6) Season with soy sauce and pepper to taste.
Remove and serve hot with a bowl of plain rice porridge or white rice. I remember my friend’s mom has also put in sliced bird chilli into her bittergourd to add in a zing to it.
Bon Appetit! 😀