Ahhhhh… Bitter Gourd. You either love it or hate it. For me it was love developed overtime. I still remember vividly the first time Bitter Gourd appeared in my household when I was a lot younger. I was not the most adventurous eater back then (sure am making up for lost time now hehe), but my sister was tempted by its beautiful flower-like appearance. But one bite, she was traumatised for life (or at least for many years after). So yes, the taste of Bitter Gourd can take a little getting used to, but it does come with a myriad of health benefits.
Bitter Gourd is a temperate/tropical vegetable originated in South-East Asia, it’s very low in calories, but contains high amount of Vitamin C, folate, ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and Vitamin A. It’s also moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese and Magnesium. Most importantly, it contains a phyto-nutrient called polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s great for people with diabetes too. So in short, all of us would benefit from consuming Bitter Gourd.
There are many ways of preparing Bitter Gourd. My favourite would be Bitter Gourd Omelette. Although I’m also partial to Bitter Gourd and Pork soup. I’d say that Bitter Gourd omelette appears pretty often on our table anyway. But it wasn’t until couple of months ago during our trip to Penang, our mind was truly blown.
Most of the time when we cook Bitter Gourd Omelette, the eggs are fully cooked, achieving a little bit of char for that extra wok hei. But not at this place called Song River Coffee Shop at Gurney Drive Penang.
The egg was runny, and a brown sauce is poured over, providing that extra umami touch. I know it’s super simple, but please give a round of applause to whoever came up with this recipe. It has truly set a new standard for us. Needless to say, this dish was the highlight of our trip and I vowed to never cook Bitter Gourd any other way.
The dish is simple enough though. I’ve since cooked it a few times at home and it’s always the first dish to finish. Here’s my version:
Mine’s a little more cooked than the Song River’s, you can always undercook it a little more. But the idea is to achieve at least 50% runny bit for the ultimate sensory experience.
Bitter Gourd Omelette
Half a medium size Bitter Gourd, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
Light Soy Sauce (around 1 tablespoon)
Fish Sauce (around 1 teaspoon)
Usually, after I sliced the Bitter Gourd, I like to sprinkle some salt over and leave it for 10-15 minutes, as this will draw out excess juice to make it less bitter. You can omit this step if you like it extra bitter. Rinse the salt off well, and set aside. Mix the soy sauce and fish sauce with a little of water and set aside.
Heat a pan on high and add your choice of oil. You need a little more for the eggs to be nice and smooth. Add Bitter Gourd and cook for 2-3 minutes until soften.
Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up the yolks, don’t beat it though because we want to keep the yolk and white slightly separated. Distribute the Bitter Gourd evenly and pour over the egg. Use the spatula to move it a couple of times to distribute the egg. Then let it cook for under a minute, until the bottom is just set.
Pour over the sauce around the side and over the middle just as you turn off the heat, and serve immediately. Best with rice!
Yeap. It’s just simple as that!
Look at that wobble!
As for the sauce, if you have a very good soy sauce which has a balance of sweet and savoury note, you won’t need anything else. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your liking, I sometimes add a touch of Black vinegar too for a little tang.
Do try this at home and let me know what you think!