Bitter Melon and Tofu Scramble

When I was a child, I never cared much for bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd. But I liked the Ilocano signature dish called pinakbet (see recipe on this blog, pork category) with bitter melon as one of its main ingredients.  So I would just shove the bitter melon to the edge of my plate and enjoy the rest of the dish, much to the disappointment of my dinner hosts. My attitude towards bitter melon changed when I was first treated to scrambled eggs with bitter melon. For some reason, the eggs masked the bitterness of this vegetable/fruit, albeit mostly only in my head.

Bitter melon has many known medicinal uses in Asia, Africa and South America. In the Philippines, it is widely believed that bitter melon is good for treating blood diseases, including anemia and leukemia.


2 bitter melon fruits

1 cup, fried & browned firm tofu, cut into one-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/3 cup chopped tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 tsp olive oil

4 medium fresh eggs

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce for a sweeter version)


Wash the bitter melons. Cut off the tips. Slice the melons in half (vertically) and scrape the inside with a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice each half into thin strips

In a small bowl, beat the eggs until evenly mixed, adding salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium-sized wok

Add the garlic until browned before adding the onions and tomatoes

Add the tofu and stir for about 5 minutes

Add the bitter melon, stirring constantly for another 5 minutes

Add the soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce), making sure that the bitter melon and tofu are evenly coated

Pour the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are fully cooked and the remaining liquid has dried up.

Remove from heat and serve with steamed brown rice or slices of whole wheat bread

(Makes 4-6 servings)


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