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5 from 1 vote
Goya Chanpuru (Bitter Melon Stir Fry Okinawan Style)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
A super easy Japanese stir fry from Okinawa, goya chanpuru is full of bonito flakes, which is unique for a stir fry dish and so flavoursome that you will get addicted to it. It is not greasy at all and my version is made with pork slices instead of SPAM which is the real version of goya chanpouru.
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 2
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 1 bitter melon (mine was 340g (12oz))
  • 180g (6.3oz) pork belly, thinly sliced (note 1)
  • 200g (7oz) hard tofu, cut into 1.5cm (5/8") thick bite size slices (note 2)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5g (0.2oz) bonito flakes
  • 3 eggs , beaten
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sake
  • 2 tsp water
  • tsp salt
  1. Cut bitter melon in half length-wise. Remove seeds including fluffy white core using a spoon. Cut the halves into 0.5-1cm (3/16"-3/8”) thick pieces width-wise.
  2. Place bitter melon in a bowl, add 1 tsp salt and toss (do not massage) to cover bitter melon pieces with salt. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse and drain well. This is to remove bitterness of goya.
  3. Heat oil in a large frypan or a wok over high heat. Add tofu and cook both sides until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from frypan/wok.
  4. Add sesame oil to the frypan/wok over high heat. Add pork and cook for about 2 minutes until slices are almost cooked through.
  5. Add bitter melon to the frypan and stir gently without breaking the bitter melon slices. Cook for about 1 minute until surface of the bitter melon starts getting cooked.
  6. Return the tofu to the frypan/wok. Add the Flavouring ingredients and mix so that the flavour coats the ingredients evenly.
  7. Add the egg and leave for 15 seconds without mixing. Then shake the frypan/wok to toss the ingredients and mix the egg with other ingredients.
  8. Turn the heat down to low. Add bonito flakes and gently mix, then turn off the heat.
  9. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

1. You can go very traditional and use luncheon meat if you wish. Instead of pork belly, you could also use other cuts of pork but not those used for stewing.

2. I used a packet of hard tofu which is suitable for stir fry. This is harder than firm tofu. If you can only find firm tofu, you would need to firm up the tofu a little bit more before cutting it.

To firm up the tofu, place the tofu on a cutting board next to the sink with the side away from the sink lifted slightly. Place a flat plastic container or a tray on the tofu with a small weight on it. Leave for 10-15 minutes. This will press the tofu and let excess water out of tofu.

Silken tofu is not suited for stir fry as it can easily crumble.

3. If you would like to add bean sprouts and/or julienned carrots, I would suggest that you reduce the amount of tofu by 1/3. Use 50g (1.8oz) each of bean sprouts and carrots. Alternatively, you could simply add these vegetables and increase the quantity of flavouring ingredients.

Carrots should be added before bitter melon and bean sprouts should be cooked after bitter melon.