Goya Chanpuru is a delicious bitter melon & tofu dish from Okinawa, Japan. This is one of my favorites!! This year I’m growing bitter melon in my garden so I can eat it all summer long. This dish is quick & easy and best served over steamed rice. 😋
Bitter melon is very bitter, as the name implies, and may be a flavor to get used to if you haven’t tried it before. I love bitter flavors and bitter melon is a treat for me! Since it can be hard to find unless you have an asian grocery store nearby, I decided to grow my own this year.
The bitter melon vines are very prolific. In Japan they are often grown in front of a window as a natural screen in summer. This recipe comes from Okinawa, the tropical islands at the very south of Japan, so they do well in very hot weather.
Goya Chanpuru is one of the most famous Okinawan dishes, and bitter melon is the star! This traditional tofu & bitter melon dish is not normally vegan, it includes ham, and is normally fried up with oil. I’ve omitted both to keep this healthy and let the veggies shine. 🙂
- 1 bitter melon
- 1 block of firm tofu
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (optional)
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt (plus more for brine)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- sesame seeds to taste
How to Prepare Bitter Melon
- Slice the bitter melon lengthwise and remove the white pith and seeds.
- Cut the bitter melon into very thin half-moon slices.
- In a small bowl place your bitter melon slices, 1-2 tsp of sea salt and cover with water. Mix lightly and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Drain and rinse your bitter melon slices and now it's ready to add to a dish!
For Goya Chanpuru
- Add your veggies and bitter melon slices to a non-stick pan on medium high heat, cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Crumble your tofu into the pan and toss to combine, cook for 1 minute.
- Add your spices and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute.
- Add your liquids and stir to incorporate, cook for 5 minutes.
- Once the tofu is nicely browned, turn off the heat and serve the dish over steamed rice. Enjoy!
Have you ever tried bitter melon? Let me know in a comment below! 🥒 If you make my goya chanpuru, post a picture to Instagram and tag me @CultivatorKitchen and use the hashtag #culivatorkitchen so I can see!
And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for a lot more regular content, recipes, and to see my gardening videos: Subscribe to Cultivator Kitchen on YouTube.