I have hesitated to share my bitter gourd with eggs stir-fry recipe as I am unsure if it will be well-received.
Reason? Some people, especially children, may find bitter gourd unappealing due to its bitter flavor. I didn’t enjoy it when I was younger, but as I tried more diverse flavors and dishes as an adult, I began to appreciate it more, especially when paired with salted egg yolks.
Bitter gourds are well-known for their health benefits, particularly in reducing blood sugar levels, according to this article. Additionally, they are rich in Vitamin C. However, the unique combination of flavors between the salted egg yolks and the bitterness of the gourds is what attracted me to this dish.
1. Salted egg- A Traditional Chinese Delicacy
Salted egg is a traditional Chinese delicacy that involves soaking duck eggs in a salty brine solution for approximately 30 days until the yolk becomes firm. The brining process gives the yolk a unique texture that is rich, creamy, and slightly grainy, setting it apart from regular eggs.
It has an acquired taste, with a rich umami flavor, making it a popular ingredient in mooncakes and Chinese rice dumplings, known as Zongzi. Although once only enjoyed by Asian home cooks, salted eggs are now available worldwide, as Asian migrants have introduced them to their communities and made them easily available in the local Asian market.
This recipe will focus solely on salted egg yolks, as the whites can be used in Chinese steamed eggs. It is a flavorful dish that only requires two main ingredients- bitter gourd and eggs.
2. How to prepare bitter gourd for stir-frying
Cut and discard a small slice near both ends of the bitter gourd (bitter melon). Next, cut the melon in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and soft pith using a metal spoon. Scrape it clean after removing the seeds.
Then, slice the bitter gourd diagonally into thin pieces of about half a centimeter or a quarter of an inch.
3. Steam the salted egg yolks
If you’re preparing salted eggs on your own or purchasing them from Asia, you’ll likely end up with raw salted eggs with runny or semi-solidified egg yolks.
Begin by cracking the salted eggs and separating the yolks from the whites. Once you’ve done that, place the salted egg yolks on a small plate suitable for steaming. Steam the salted egg yolks for seven minutes over medium heat with the lid closed. After steaming, the egg yolks will be fully cooked, and their color will be slightly lightened.
Note: If you live in a country where cooked salted eggs are sold, remove the shell and separate the cooked egg yolks from the cooked whites. There is no need to steam the cooked yolks.
4. Steps to stir-fry the bitter gourd with salted egg yolks
I divided the steps into two sections:
a. Stir-fry the bitter gourd
- Heat a pan, wok, or skillet, and add cooking oil.
- Once heated, add some chopped garlic and saute it for about 30 seconds or until it becomes aromatic.
- Add the bitter melon slices.
- Next, season the bitter melon slices with light soy sauce, salt, sugar, and ground white pepper. Using fish sauce as the substitute for the light soy sauce will give the final dish a hint of Vietnamese flavor.
- Stir-fry the bitter gourd over medium heat for approximately five minutes or until the bitter gourd becomes soft. If it is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.
- If you’re using a large pan, push the bitter gourd slices aside to make space for adding the salted eggs. Otherwise, remove it from the pan first if it’s too small.
b. Add the salted egg yolks
- Add more oil to the pan if needed, then add the salted egg yolks and use a spatula to mash it into a sauce. This may be a little sticky, so using a non-stick pan could make it easier to manage.
- Once you have your salted egg paste ready, combine it with the bitter gourd slices.
- Before serving, do a taste test to determine whether you need to add some salt. Remember that some salted egg yolks are quite salty, so it’s always best to test first.
- Turn up the heat to high and add a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine to the edges of the pan. (Note: This is optional.)
- Finally, give everything a good mix, stir, and then serve.
5. What if you do not like salted eggs? (The alternate recipe)
If you prefer not to use salted eggs, here’s an equally popular Cantonese bitter gourd with regular eggs recipe. Instead of salted egg yolks, follow these alternative steps to prepare the dish:
- In a mixing bowl, beat three chicken eggs until they are well mixed.
- Add a pinch of salt and ground white pepper to the egg mixture.
- Heat a frying pan or wok with oil over medium-low heat and pour the beaten eggs into it.
- Stir the eggs slowly until they start to become scrambled eggs.
- Once the eggs are about 70% cooked, add the stir-fried bitter gourd pieces that we have stir-fried to mix with the eggs.
- Let the eggs break into small pieces and stick to the sliced bitter melon.
- Add some sesame oil and mix with a few quick stirs before serving
Bitter gourd and salted egg stir-fry is often served as a side dish in the Chinese family, along with a main dish and white rice.
6. Other related recipes
Bitter gourd is a common vegetable cooked by the Chinese. It can also be used to make bitter melon soup, which is often used as the base for soup noodles, a popular street food in Malaysia. If you are a fan of bitter melon, try some other bitter melon recipes on this food blog.
- Braise chicken and bitter gourd with black bean sauce. Fermented black beans pair well with bitter melon. Try this recipe as it is one of the typical Chinese dishes in the ordinary family.
- Stuffed button melon with minced meat. Another traditional recipe you should not miss. It is steamed over high heat, making it a healthy and nutritional balanced dish.
- Separating the salted egg yolks from the whites.
- Place the salted egg yolks on a small plate, and steam the salted egg yolks for seven minutes over medium heat or until fully cooked with the lid closed.
- Remove both ends of the bitter melon.
- Next, cut the melon in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and soft pith using a metal spoon. Scrape it clean after removing the seeds.
- Then, slice the bitter gourd diagonally into thin pieces of about half a centimeter or a quarter of an inch.
- Heat a pan and add the cooking oil.
- Once heated, add the chopped garlic and saute it until it becomes aromatic.
- Add the bitter gourd melon slices.
- Next, season the bitter melon slices with light soy sauce, salt, sugar, and ground white pepper.
- Stir-fry the bitter gourd over medium heat for five minutes or until the bitter gourd becomes soft. If it is too dry, add some water.
- Remove the bitter gourd from the pan.
- Add more oil to the pan, then add the salted egg yolk and use a spatula to break them.
- Combine the salted egg paste with the bitter gourd slices.
- Do a taste test to determine whether you need to add more salt.
- Finally, turn up the heat to high and add a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine to the edges of the pan. Give everything a good mix, stir, and then serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 3456mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 8/27/2023