Hed Chef

Learning to love bittergourd

Salted egg with bittergourd stir-fry. PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - There are several varieties of bittergourd. My favourite is white bittergourd, though it is not as readily available here as the green variety.

White bittergourd is milder than the green one. It is a good choice if you are not fond of bittergourd but want to eat it for its nutritional value, which includes vitamins A and C.

This recipe combines salted egg with white bittergourd. Given the saltiness of the salted egg white, all you need for seasoning is a dash of ground white pepper.

This is one dish that goes well with rice or porridge.


1 medium-sized white bittergourd (200g)
500ml water
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cooked salted eggs, finely chopped
10g unsalted butter
1 red finger chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 green bird's eye chilli, sliced thinly
Dash of ground white pepper
1 stalk of spring onion, finely sliced


1. Halve bittergourd lengthwise and use a spoon to remove seeds and scrape off pith. Slice each half crosswise into strips.

2. Bring 500ml water to a boil and blanch bittergourd for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. (Below)


3. Heat cooking oil in a pan over medium heat and add chopped garlic.

4. Lower heat to medium-low and fry for 45 seconds, until fragrant.

5. Turn heat down to low, then add chopped salted egg and fry for 1½ minutes.

6. Add butter and stir-fry mixture until butter is melted. (Below)

7. Add red finger chilli and green bird's eye chilli. (Below)

8. Add bittergourd and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

9. Add a dash of ground white pepper and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

10. Garnish with spring onion and serve immediately.

(Makes four servings with rice.)

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