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Bitter Melon with Eggs {Ku Gua Chao Dan}

by Shirley

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Bitter Melon with Eggs {Chinese Stir Fry Ku Gua Chao Dan}

Bitter Melon with Eggs {Ku Gua Chao Dan 苦瓜炒蛋} features bitter melon thin slices stir-fried with eggs. Such a quick, easy and hearty way to enjoy this healthy vegetable.

Indeed, fried egg with vegetables is a popular everyday home cooking in China. Fried eggs with Xiang Chun {Xing Chun Chao Dan 香椿炒蛋} is another traditional dish.

Bitter Melon with Eggs {Chinese Stir Fry Ku Gua Chao Dan}

Bitter Melon Fun Facts

About Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon is a gourd native to many locations around the globe, and is especially popular in areas such as Southern China Guang Dong area, India and Vietnam. The gourd gets its name from its taste.

In Guang Dong, people usually call them “cooling melon” {Liang Gua 凉瓜} instead of “bitter melon” {Ku Gua 苦瓜} for a more upbeat connotation. This is because “Ku” {苦} in Chinese is also associated with hardship or misery. The reason Cantonese call them “cooling melon” is because TCM {Traditional Chinese Medicine} believes bitter melon can help calm and clarify our internal body systems.

bitter melon on the vine growing in our backyard garden
bitter melon on the vine growing in our backyard garden

What does Bitter Melon plant look like?

The Bitter Melon plant is a vine climber gourd similar to cucumber. They both have yellow flowers too. However, compared to cucumber, bitter melon flowers are much smaller. Bitter Melon leaves have a unique pattern. Multiple small maple leaves looking segments make up a larger maple leaf shaped leaf.

The melon itself look differently in terms of shade of green and the shape of the gourd, depending on the specific species. The one we grow in our backyard has pale green color, pointy ends and rough skins. The ones common in China have a jade green color, smooth skin and round ends.

Bitter Melon Flowering on the vine
Bitter Melon Flowering on the vine

Bitter Melon Health Benefits

Despite the distinct looks, all Bitter Melons are super nutritious gourd. They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, potassium, zinc and iron. It worth mentioning that Bitter Melon contains loads of Vitamin C.

Especially, Bitter Melon is well-known for its ability to lower blood sugar. For that reason, people consider bitter melon an alternative medicine to treat diabetes-related conditions.

Bitter Melon Growing on the Vine in our garden
Bitter Melon Growing on the Vine in our garden

How to make Bitter Melon less bitter?

There are many ways to prep Bitter Melon to allievate the sharp, over-powering bitterness.

First thing first is to remove the pith of Bitter Melon thoroughly

Remove the pith of bitter melon
Remove the pith of bitter melon

Remove the pith, including the seeds thoroughly and scrape clean using a spoon. By the way, the seeds, initially whitish green, turn into shiny orange red as they mature.

Tip #2 is to rub Bitter Melon with salt

The salt counter reacts with the bitterness and helps ease the over-powering bitterness. Let the bitter melon with the salt rest for about 10 minutes and then wash and rinse thoroughly to get rid of the extra salt.

Tip #3 is to cut Bitter Melon into thin slices if you can

You can cut bitter melon into thin slices for most dishes. A Mandoline slicer helps with consistent thin slices.

Cut Bitter Melon into thin slices using a Mandoline Slicer
Cut Bitter Melon into thin slices using a Mandoline Slicer

Tip #4 is blanch bitter melon briefly with vinegar

Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar when blanching the bitter melon. To keep the crunchiness and freshness of the bitter melon, only blanch briefly, like 30 seconds in boiling water.

Tip #5 is to complement Bitter Melon with naturally sweet ingredients

Goji Berry or Red Jujube {Hong Zao 红枣} are two excellent ingredients that are naturally sweet to compensate for the bitterness. Both Goji Berry and Red Jujube are superfood by themselves, by the way.

Bitter Melon with Eggs {Chinese Stir Fry Ku Gua Chao Dan}

Bitter Melon with Eggs {Ku Gua Chao Dan 苦瓜炒蛋}

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Bitter Melon with Eggs {Ku Gua Chao Dan 苦瓜炒蛋} features bitter melon thin slices stir-fried with eggs. Such a quick, easy and hearty way to enjoy this healthy vegetable.

Ingredients

  • 1 bitter melon, about 6 oz. (180 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt, or to the taste
  • 1 stem of green onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar, for blanching the bitter melon

Instructions

  1. Gather ingredients.
    Ingredients for Bitter Melon with Eggs
  2. Fill a 4 Qt. stockpot with water and bring it to a boil, about 10 minutes.
  3. While waiting on the water, prep the bitter melon. Wash bitter melon and cut open along the center line. Remove the pith including the seeds completely. Use a spoon to scrape clean.
    Remove the pith of bitter melon
  4. Rinse the bitter melon, trim both ends and then cut into thin slices. Use a Mandoline slicer to help with this step if you'd like to.
    Cut Bitter Melon into thin slices using a Mandoline Slicer
  5. When the water reaches a boil, add the bitter melon slices into the boiling water along with 1 tbsp white vinegar. Use a stainless steel spider strainer to seperate bitter melon slices and submerge them under the boiling water.
    Blanch bitter melon slices
  6. Blanch for 30 seconds and remove the bitter melon from the boiling water using the stainless steel spider strainer and place them in a basin filled with cold water to cool down the bitter melon slices immediately.
    Dump blanched bitter melon slices in a basin filled with cold water
  7. Let the bitter melon slices soak for about 30 seconds, and then remove them, gently squeeze to get rid of the extra water and set aside.
    Blanched bitter melon slices
  8. Crack the two eggs in a bowl and whisk vigorously until fully blended. Add about half of the 1/4 tsp salt, mix well.
    blanched bitter melon slices and whisked eggs
  9. Turn the heat to medium-high and heat a hard anodized fry pan for 1 minute. Spray 2 tsp canola oil using a home oil sprayer, add bitter melons slices and chopped green onion, stir fry for about 1 minute, add salt and fold, mix well.
    Stir Fry bitter melon slices
  10. Pour the whisked eggs in a circula motion onto the bitter melon slices, wait for it to about to solidify and then scramble, fold and mix using a slotted turner until egg is fully solidified but remain soft.
    Pour whisked eggs over stir fried bitter melon slices
    Bitter Melon with Eggs in the Pan
  11. All done. Remove the bitter melon with eggs from the pan and serve hot. Enjoy a super refreshing and nutrious egg dish.
    Bitter Melon with Eggs {Chinese Stir Fry Ku Gua Chao Dan}

Notes

  • It is important to prepare bitter melon in order to get rid of the over-powering bitterness. See here for more ways of achieving that. When you use rubing/marinating the bitter melon with salt method, make sure you only let it rest for about 10 minutes to avoid bitter melon absorb extra salt, unless you are making a soup. In that case you can use the extra salt for the soup.
  • My recipes uses very litte salt, just enough to bring out the food flavor. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
  • It is super helpful to have a quality nonstick pan to make this recipe.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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