bitter taste

Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

Bitter gourd is very popular vegetable throughout South-East Asian cuisines, you will find this Asian vegetable in soups, stews, stir-fry dishes and healthy juice drinks. Bitter gourd aka Bitter Melon (or Bitter squash) is now widely available in Asian supermarkets and shops.

This uneven textured green vegetable is good for one’s health. Drinking bitter gourd juice is a great way to detox your body, while regularly eating bitter gourd as a part of your daily diet is known to prevent skin ailments and aids a glowing skin. It contains a lots of vitamins ad nutrients and is especially highly beneficial for diabetics for lowering down their blood sugar levels. The bitter taste boosts the immune system and while there is no accounting for taste, you are definitely into Asian food if you serve, cook and eat Bitter gourd often.

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cleaning Bitter Gourd

The secret of appreciating bitter gourd is to make sure you clean the bitter gourd well;

  1. Slice the gourd in half and scrape out all the seeds with membranes and pith (white sponge), leaving only a thin layer of white 2-3mm to the green skin of the bitter gourd and cut in thin slices.
  2. Or cut cylindrical and carefully clean by hollowing and removing the insides out for stuffing and further preparation.
  3. Parboil the remaining flesh (especially with larger cuts) to mellow its strong flavor for a few minutes only, then prepare for casseroles, stir-fries, stews or soups.

With young and smaller bitter gourds I skip parboiling but make sure I clean them well and season during stir-frying, to ensure that bitterness turns into a pleasant flavor adding to the final dish.

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From left to right: Salted Duck eggs, Chicken eggs, Preserved eggs

Various eggs

  • Century eggs 皮蛋 pídàn is a Chinese delicacy, preserved duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls. The traditional method of processing time depends on the method and may take several week up to several months. At present a simplified approach of soaking the eggs in a chemical bath for 10 days speeds up the aging process while wrapped in plastic. We buy both interchanging century eggs wrapped in rice hulls or in plastic packs for convenience, it can be cooked and often used in cold dishes as salads too.
  • Salted duck eggs 咸鸭蛋 xián yā dàn or 咸蛋 xián dàn (salted eggs) is another typical Chinese food preserve made by soaking the duck eggs in brine or in damp salted charcoal. You do not see them often anymore, eggs covered in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste, mostly they are wrapped in plastic containers or vacuum packed. We often eat them as a side dish with congee (rice porridge) or as an ingredient in baking, rice dumplings or stir-fry dishes. You need to cook salted duck eggs before further preparation in cooking or baking.
  • Eggs are a common staple food and one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking. The most commonly used bird eggs are chicken, duck, goose. In more refined gourmet dishes the two opposites in egg sizes, quail eggs or ostrich eggs may be used.

Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

While stir fried bitter gourd with eggs is a common dish found in many local South-East Asian cuisines, the origin of this dish is infused by leftover rather than a particular native dish  since we have eaten many bitter gourd egg stir fry versions. The ingredients are more or less the same the used seasonings may differ by locality and cook. A simpler version will be linked here soon.

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Sliced bitter gourd, three eggs mix and chopped garlic

Scroll down for this recipe as shown in the image.

 

Note: a word of caution while bitter gourd is highly nutritious, the vegetable should not be eaten or given to allergy sufferers, pregnant women and young children:

  • If you happen to be allergic for melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe (cucurbitaceae plants aka gourd family) you better avoid preparing or eating bitter melon.
  • For pregnant women the vegetable contains laxative component which may cause premature contraction and lead to miscarriages. Contact your doctor first.
  • For very young children, since the plant insulin is very effective in keeping blood sugar levels down it might cause the child sugar levels to drop.
  • For diabetes, you can add bitter melon to your diet but MUST check you blood sugar level and consult your doctor if in treatment with sugar medication, because bitter melon can cause your blood sugar levels fall dramatically if consumed too excessively.