Bitter Melon Chanpuru (Okinawan-style Stir Fry)

Bitter gourd grows on long vines in the summer. It is popular to use it as a “green curtain”, as well as growing vegetables in the garden.

Bitter Melon Chanpuru (Okinawan-style Stir Fry)
Photographed by Hideo Sawai

Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi




Beans & Tofu



Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 bitter melon (280 g)

    Gourd with a distinctive bitterness. It is long and thin, about 10-30 cm, and has bumpy skin.

  • 130-150 g pork (thinly sliced for pork ginger)
  • 1 block momen-tofu (300 g)

    Tofu that has been compressed to take away the moisture. Its firm texture makes it ideal for cooking.

  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Black pepper (coarsely ground), as needed



Cut the bitter melon lengthwise in half and scoop out the seeds and white pith with a spoon. Cut into 2-3 mm slices. Cut the pork into 1-2 cm strips. Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and press gently to remove excess moisture. Lightly beat the eggs.


Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan placed over high heat. Tear the tofu into large pieces and put in the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, fry to a golden brown and remove.


Wait until one side is golden brown before flipping the tofu over. In the meantime, do not poke or move the tofu around. Brown the other side as well to fully cook the tofu.


Add one tsp of oil to the pan, lay out the bitter melon slices and sprinkle with 1/2-2/3 tsp of salt. Fry until slightly tender and a brilliant green. Remove and set aside with the tofu.


As with the tofu, avoid poking or moving the bitter melon slices around, and brown both sides.


Add 1/2 tbsp of oil to the pan, lay out the pork slices and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and a pinch of pepper.


When one side of the pork is brown, cover with tofu and bitter melon and drizzle 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce in a circular motion, starting from the edge of the pan.


Pour half the eggs over the pan in a circular motion, flip the contents over, and stir. Add the remaining eggs in a similar fashion, plate up and sprinkle with black pepper as needed.