Traditional Chinese Stir-Fry of Bitter Melon and Eggs

The Chinese dish of bitter melon stir-fried with eggs is an old favorite.  

This is the kind of recipe you can make on a weeknight without worrying about defrosting ingredients or chopping a gazillion things. I can't wait to try this recipe.

Bitter melon (or bitter gourd) is countered by the savory eggs. It's a classic dish, comparable to Beef with Bitter Melon in Black Bean Sauce.

Long time, no post—possibly the longest break since we launched The Woks of Life all those years ago. However, there is a valid reason

We've been incredibly occupied with taking photos for our upcoming cookbook (due out in the Fall of 2022). ) Rest assured, however; normal service will resume here in just a few days.

As for me, Bitter Melon is AMAZING.

Never in a million years did I think I'd say this, but bitter melon is one of my favorite vegetables. As a child, I couldn't fathom why my parents would eat something with the word "bitter" in the name.  

My family and I have been growing bitter melon in our garden for a few years now, and I have come to appreciate the way its bitter taste complements otherwise rich ingredients like (in this case) scrambled eggs, sliced beef, and black beans that are loaded with umami.  

Together with my boyfriend Justin, I eagerly await the summer months when bitter melons abound in Chinese markets and in my mother's garden.

Even though beef with bitter melon is a more involved recipe, this one is a breeze to prepare. It's just eggs cooked in a pan.  

Chinese Stir-fried Bitter Melon with Eggs

You can quickly and easily prepare bitter gourds by scraping out the seeds, slicing them, and blanching them in a wok. Once they've been drained, heat up your wok and scramble up some eggs. The final step is to combine all the ingredients with some seasonings.  

Never fear if this is your first time cooking with bitter melon! In this post, I'll provide detailed instructions alongside visual aids.  

A Melon Farming Experience

For the past few years, we have cultivated a garden full of bitter melons. We started with seeds and supplemented with baby bitter melon plants from the Asian market.  

Bitter Melon hanging from plant

As a climbing plant, bitter melon needs only a trellis (or in our case, the garden fence) to grow to its desired height. It prefers full sun and hot, humid conditions, so this summer in New Jersey has been ideal.  

Many types exist, but only a few are commonly used. In Indian markets, you might find bitter melons that are more spiky and warty looking. Typically used in Chinese cuisine, ours is the smoother variety.  

Bitter melons on cutting board

Next to the cucumber plant, we have our bitter melons growing.

Bitter melon plant next to cucumber plant

Which brings up an important question: Are bitter melons healthy?  

Simply put, YES  

Based on my readings, Bitter Melon also has the distinct benefit of being extremely healthy.  

It has high levels of antioxidants like vitamin C and acai berry polyphenols. It has been linked to lowering the risk of cancer and diabetes and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The bitter melon was called a "panacea for inflammation and cancer" in one article I read.

(Once, a diabetic reader who had been prescribed bitter melon by his nutritionist contacted us for recipes using the ingredient. ) 

According to TCM, the "cooling" properties of bitter melon make it an ideal summertime snack. It may help digestion, reduce inflammation and fever, and improve blood flow.  

To make a long story short, you should try this recipe. Easy to do, and beneficial to your health to boot!  

Formulation of Method

Cut the lengthwise in half of each of your bitter melons.

Bitter melon sliced in half lengthwise

To remove the seeds, use a spoon. Take out the white pith, which can be very bitter, by scraping it out of the inside of the melon.  

Hollowed out bitter melon halves

Cut the melon into thin diagonal slices by flipping it over so the hollow side is down on the cutting board.  

Slicing bitter melon

Put 1 teaspoon of salt into the water in your wok (or other large pot) and bring it to a boil. Cook it until it boils. Bitter melon needs to be blanched for 30 seconds, drained, and then cooled. Set aside  

Blanched and drained bitter melon on a plate

Cream together the eggs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, white pepper, and sesame oil in a medium bowl.  

Eggs with sesame oil, salt, and white pepper

Dry out your wok until it barely starts to smoke, and then heat it. Combine the beaten eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil and stir to combine. Move quickly when scrambling the eggs to prevent them from browning and losing their tender texture.

Scrambling eggs in wok We used eggs from hens that were raised on pasture because we prefer the richer golden color and the fact that the hens seem content.

When the eggs have cooked for 70 percent, transfer them from the wok to the bowl.  

Partially cooked scrambled eggs in wok

Put the bitter melon in the wok and add another tablespoon of oil. After 15-30 seconds of stirring, add the Shaoxing wine around the rim of the wok and let it bubble for a few minutes. Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and stir-fry for another 15 seconds.  

Stir-frying bitter melon in wok

Return the eggs to the wok and stir-fry for a few more seconds, until they are set.

Stirring eggs into bitter melon in wok

Put on a plate and serve right away after taking out of the wok.

Bitter Melon with Eggs

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  • Cut the lengthwise in half of each of your bitter melons. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Remove any white pith you find inside the melon, as it may be very bitter.
  • Cut the melon into thin diagonal slices by flipping it over so the carved side is down on the cutting board.
  • Put 1 teaspoon of salt into the water in your wok (or other large pot) and bring it to a boil. Start a boil. The bitter melon needs to be boiled for 30 seconds, then drained. Set aside
  • Scramble the eggs with the white pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the sesame oil in a medium bowl.
  • Dry out your wok until it barely starts to smoke. Toss in 2 tbsp of oil and the beaten eggs. Ensure the eggs are tender by scrambling them quickly before they brown. Whenever the eggs reach 70 percent doneness, transfer them from the wok to the bowl.
  • The bitter melon and an additional tablespoon of oil belong in the wok. During the final 15-30 seconds of the stir-frying process, add the Shaoxing wine around the edge of the wok. Add the sugar, oyster sauce, and light soy sauce and continue to stir-fry for another 15 seconds.
  • Return the eggs to the wok and stir-fry for a few more seconds, or as long as it takes for them to reach your desired doneness. Take out of the pan right away and serve.
Calories: 215 kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 6 g (2%) Protein: 9 g (18%) Fat: 17 g (26%) Trans Fats: 11 g (55%) Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 2 g Fats with a monounsaturated fatty acid: 4 g Trans Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 233 mg (78%) Sodium: 511 mg (21%) Potassium: 469 mg (13%) Fiber: 4 g (16%) Sugar: 1 g (1%) Vitamin A: 938 IU (19%) Vitamin C: 107 mg (130%) Calcium: 61 mg (6%) Iron: 2 mg (11%)
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