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Miso Hungry Podcast

Goya Champuru – Bitter Melon with Tofu and Pork

bitter melon with tofu and pork

In this week’s tofu episode, we spoke with Andrea Nguyen, the author of Asian Tofu. Several times during our interview, she mentioned a dish she loved – a tofu scramble that she believes far exceeds most tofu scrambles you can find here in the US.

So of course, we had to try it.

And, well, now we think you need to try it. It seems like such a simple, almost boring dish. Trust me, it’s not. I couldn’t stop going back for more.

The dish uses bitter melon, an ingredient that might sound intimidating. (I can relate – I was intimidated by it too, at first.) If you don’t want to use bitter melon or can’t find it, Andrea says other kinds of squash make a great substitute (we really want to try it with kabocha.) But the way it’s prepared, the bitter melon is not at all overwhelmingly bitter. (Believe me, I have very low tolerance for bitter… and I LOVED this.)

bitter melon with tofu and pork

Don’t forget, we’re giving away a copy of Asian Tofu! You still have until Monday to enter, so get on it!

And… we now have t-shirts! Want your very own “Tofu Nerds Unite!” t-shirt? Head on over to our shop, where you can buy a “Tofu Nerds Unite!” tshirt… and we also have a super-cute “Tako ≠ Taco” design.


tofu nerds unite! tshirt

Goya Champuru – Bitter Melon with Tofu and Pork

Reprinted with permission from Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


  • 1 small bitter melon (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 to 16 ounces medium-firm or firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 ounces ground pork, fattier kind preferred, roughly chopped to loosen
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon dashi stock
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese or Korean soy sauce
  • 1 green onion, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • Japanese ground red chile (ichimi togarashi), optional

Cooking Instructions

  1. Trim the ends and then split each bitter melon lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and spongy inside. Discard these. Slice each half on the diagonal into longish thin pieces.
  2. Put the bitter melon into a bowl and add water to cover. Gently massage until the water turns opaque; this releases some of the bitterness. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Toss with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside for 10 minutes. More bitterness will release in the liquid that will pool in the bowl. Pour off the liquid, rinse, and set aside to drain.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into 2- to 3-inch squares, each about 1 inch thick. Drain the tofu for about 5 minutes atop a non-terry dishtowel or double layer of paper towels set on a plate. Put another towel on top and gently press to expel some moisture. Cut each piece of tofu into 1-inch chunks that will easily mash during cooking.
  4. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the pork, poking and mashing it into small pieces. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until the pork is no longer pink. Add the bitter melon and sake. Continue stir-frying for 1 minute, until the bitter melon has just started to soften.

    Add the tofu, gently mashing and stirring to crumble into irregular chinks. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, then cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, to heat through. Add the dashi stock and soy sauce and cook for 1 minute to allow the tofu to absorb the liquid seasonings and soften. Sprinkle in the green onion, stir to distribute, then transfer to a plate. Offer the ground red chile to guests who want it.

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  • Bitter Melon Soup on Jan 25, 2017 at 6:01am
    […] However, the blanching mellows it significantly, and the pairing with pork always works wonderfully. […]

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