Anniversary Sale
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I finally had the guts to buy a goya because there was a half-cut goya on sale for 50 yen at my local supermarket last week. I had always envied my Okinawan friend who could nonchalantly cook up Goya-Chanpuru. Until last week, goya was much too intimidating for me to take up.

Goya is a vegetable, often called Bitter Melon, common in tropical regions. Its skin is firm and bumpy, and the texture when eaten is a cross between an under-ripe melon and cucumber. Goya-Chanpuru is a staple Okinawan dish, consisting of pork, egg and goya. It's popular enough to make an appearance in some country wide chain izakayas. The first time I tried goya, I was shocked by its bitterness - but after a couple bites, I was addicted.

After doing some searches on the internet, I figured out how to cut and prepare goya for a simple stir fry dish.

Goya sliced lengthwise.

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Gut the insides of the goya with a spoon.

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Slice goya.

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The simple stir fry I made consisted of about tablespoon of sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds and lots of katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes).

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Column: Japanify
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14 comments

  • Very interesting post. Until now the only Goya I knew were those cans of beans at the local bodega that always have a 6-inch layer of dust on them.

    Paystyle on

  • I heard soaking the goya in water for 20 minutes reduces the bitterness

    Ricky on

  • Paystyle – Thanks. Yes I remember those Goya canned beans. I wonder if they sell Goya (Bitter Melon) in the states…

    Anders – Yeah it does look like a weird mythical Hayao Miyazaki creature. I can't imagine you as a bumpy faced teenager! You'll have to show me pictures to prove it some time.

    yoko on

  • What an interesting piece of vegetable, it reminds me of my face when I was in high school…

    Great post though, I've always seen them in the supermarkets around Tokyo but never dared to ask what they were (I was 90% sure it was not an animal…)

    Anders on

  • I have champuru for my bento today

    Ricky on

  • Such awesome pictures. I love goya chuampuru!!!

    kayoko on

  • Mmmm! Yum that sounds sooo good. I love fukujinzuke.

    yoko on

  • My wife made it. I had a a tsukemono champuru a few months ago subbing goya with riingo kyuri, fukujinzukue, renkon, really good.

    Ricky on

  • Ricky – Yes, I have heard about how soaking it in water reduces the bitterness as well. The next time I make goya I will try that and post the results. Did you make your goya chanpuru lunch yourself?

    yoko on

  • Ok seriously for fuck's sake 90% of folks in the western hemisphere can't understand what the topic of discussion is anymore. What the fukujinzuke is fukujinzuke? I'm assuming it's some sort of asian peasant food since it's coming from Ricky, the self-proclaimed expert of asian peasant food.

    Paystyle on

  • Ricky- SPOILED!!!

    kayoko on

  • I dont subject myself to one ethnicity of peasant food, my diet consists of halal chicken carts, tongue tacos, diet coke, 25 cent drinks, and ajinomoto fish sausage, I wouldnt call my self an expert at asian peasant food, maybe an asian peasant.

    Fujkujinzuke is pretty much found in jars at every crappy japanese place that serves curry on the west coast and Hawaii.

    Riingo kyuri be those ridiculously green pickled cucumbers.

    Ricky on

  • Ok, that was funny. Pay just might have you on that, Ricky- you just might be the world champion of asian peasant food. God what an honor!!!

    Pay- fukujinzuke are a kind of pickle in Japan. See here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukujinzuke

    They are delicious, more salty than sour, and you are right on about them being a peasant dish (originally, but now they are sold in fancy packaging which gets quite pricey at department stores in Japan.)

    Goya champuru is a dish from Okinawa that is just sauteed bitter melon with scrambled egg and spam. It's awesome.

    Ricky- what's riingo kyuri?? Apple cucumber???

    kayoko on

  • It's also interesting how the goya resembles a bottle of Midori.

    Paystyle on

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