Sep 17, 2017
I love living in slightly rural Japan, especially during summer and fall, when all the fresh vegetables in everyone's gardens start coming off the plants and everyone and their mothers seem to have too much to go around, so they pass it on to me. There was almost a month that we didn't need to buy tomatoes even though our family of five eats them with every meal. We were even so lucky to receive a whole watermelon. Harvest time is such a lucky time.
Except when given Goya.
Bitter melon (or gourd depending on where you are from) the vegetable that lives by it's namesake. It looks so innocent with its green lumpy outer. And the crisp crunchy texture would make you believe that this vegetable would go perfect in any salad.
However many people seem to enjoy this vial veg. There are recipes a plenty, stir frying it , boiling or frying it. You can take the famous Okinawan route and scramble it up with eggs. But honestly in this lady's opinion you are just destroying a perfectly edible plate of scrambled eggs. If you can't tell,I am not a fan. However,I also don't like to waste food. So when my student's mom handed me a bag with this giant green log in it,I took it as a challenge to find a way to somewhat enjoy it. Anything deep fried is delicious right? So that is what I did.
This wasn't my first time trying Goya. I had given it many chances, made many ways by various Japanese friends. But Goya and I just couldn't seem to get along. Now was the first time to actually try to prepare it myself. I began by slicing it thin like I had been served it before and was shocked by the color.
It was bright red. And sorta spongy. Slicing it like that was a bad idea. It was really tedious to pluck out the red parts from each slice. But I got there. And then hoping to kill the bitter flavor by making it with tangy,I coated each slice with a lemon seasoning meant for chicken or fish.
Then a layer of cornstarch for a karaage style coating and deep fried them until golden.
I'm sure lemon juice would work just as well for some tangy ness. And after they were cooled it was time to try them out.
Yep...still bitter and gross...But sufferable. I could do it. I ate about 5 more slices couldn't take anymore then gave some to my two year old who seemed pleased. He liked the crunchy snack. So did my neighbor. Bitter gourd fries seemed be a hit all around...except for me. I suppose we will just never get along.
I decided to look online to figure out how to properly prepare it, and everywhere said to first cut it in half length wise and scoop out the spongy inner before slicing. Next time I will know...If there is a next time.
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too