Hed Chef

Healthier homecooking: Bittergourd stir-fry

Two kinds of bittergourd go into this stir-fry that makes for healthier eating at home.
Two kinds of bittergourd go into this stir-fry that makes for healthier eating at home.PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Fresh ingredients can provide the inspiration to cook and eat healthier food at home.

This week's recipe is a spin on the Okinawan dish of goya champuru, which is a bittergourd stir-fry with pork and pressed tofu.

I used two kinds of bittergourd - the white one and the mini bittergourd - and I rather like the jade-like colour combination.

White bittergourd tastes less bitter than the green variety and may be easier on the palate. If you prefer the bittergourd to be more tender, simply cook it a little longer.

Bittergourd Stir-fry


50g pork collar, thinly sliced and cut into 3cm by 4cm pieces
1 Tbs cooking sake
1 Tbs light soya sauce
100g tau kwa (pressed tofu), cut into 1cm cubes
4 Tbs cooking oil
180g white bittergourd, thinly sliced
140g mini bittergourd, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Pinch of salt
100ml water
40g beansprouts
30g carrot, shredded
1 level tsp salt
Dash of pepper
 ½ tsp sesame oil
3g bonito flakes


1. Place the pork in a bowl, and add the cooking sake and one tablespoon of light soya sauce. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes. Remove it from the refrigerator five minutes before cooking.

2. Heat two tablespoons of oil and fry the tau kwa over medium-low heat until golden brown.

3. Place the fried tau kwa on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.

4. In a clean pan, heat two tablespoons of oil. Fry the garlic for a minute till fragrant.

5. Add the white bittergourd. Fry for 45 seconds and add the mini bittergourd.

6. Add pinch of salt and fry for a minute.

7. Add water and cook until there is no visible liquid.

8. Add the pork. Fry for two minutes.

9. Add the beansprouts and shredded carrot. Fry for one minute.

10. Season with a level teaspoon of salt.

11. Add the pepper and sesame oil.

12. Turn off the heat. Garnish with bonito flakes and serve immediately

Makes six servings.