Goya Champon

Goya is called bitter melon I think. It’s the size of a large cucumber, tapered at the end, light green, with deep knobbly ridges. It is amzingly bitter, well within the realms of quinine, but tasty in this recipe. This is a traditional Okinawan dish, Okinawa being part of Japan but a different culture and was part of the US from 1945 to 1973. They then had to switch the island from driving on the right to driving on the left. The ingredients for this are pretty basic – goya, tofu, bacon, and a couple of eggs

Anyway get a goya and slice it lengthwise and scrape out the pulpy inner. Then slice it crosswise into 3mm slices, they should look like narrow arches.

Mean while get a block of tofu or I just used the deep fried tofu. For deep fried tofu it’s not a bad idea to pour some boiling water over to rinse out the extra oil. Then slice it a bit thicker than the goya into rectangles.

Fry the Tofu in a frypan with a little sesame oil until it’s browned slightly. Then add some bacon or better still, thinly sliced pork belly, cook then remove.

Now add the goya slices and fry them in a little more sesame oil until they change colour. Return the pork and tofu add a tablespoon of soy, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then mix in two beaten eggs, stir until lightly set and serve.

It’s one of my favourites because of the unusual bitterness of the goya which brings out the natural sweetness of the pork and the eggs, The tofu acts as a texture juxtaposition as the goya should retain much of its crunch. There’s also the nice shape contrast of the round of the goya and the squares of tofu. A lot going on for such a simple dish.