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Monday, April 6, 2009

Grandma's Bitter Gourd Scrambled Eggs

there are times when i know i should do something because it's the right thing to do. like, when i'm in the sock aisle at Target. i won't buy the entire spring collection of knee highs, in fact, i walk away and spend my hard earned money on the things i need: laundry detergent, foil, sandwich bags. or like, when i'm not in the mood to cook dinner so instead, after work, i head over to my fave vietnamese restaurant for an order of their bo luc lak. rather than ordering take out tho, i head across the street to the asian market and go proper grocery shopping. because, really, the cost of that dish (along with a side order of gỏi cuốn and coconut juice) equals a week's worth of fresh veggies.

sigh. and that's what happened last week. i knew i needed to hit the store for much needed produce and make something properly to offset all the heavy food i had consumed in PR. fiiiiiiine. the asian market is small, it only just opened, their selection limited compared to the H mart down the street. however, it had enough. i picked up some japanese eggplant, onions, tofu and then i saw it. a few smallish bitter melons or bitter gourds. it surprised me that i had a craving for it. as a child, i hated the thing, no matter how it was prepared, usually stuffed with minced meat in a stock. the stock would take on the bitterness of the fruit and sometimes i would gag just looking at if we were having it with our dinner. however, my grandmother used to chop them up small and stir fry it with eggs. it wasn't too bad actually, not as a bitter and if i ate it with enough white rice, the bitterness wouldn't come anywhere near my tongue. here is my version of grandma's bitter gourd scrambled eggs. it's actually very similiar to how i made my green beans.

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Grandma's Bitter Gourd Scrambled Eggs

1 bitter melon, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 glove of garlic
dash of oyster sauce
tsp of olive/veggie oil, whatever you have
3 eggs

i cut the bitter gourd lengthwise, scooping out the pit and then sliced them. i blanched them in some salted water to temper the bitterness. meanwhile, chopped up some onoins and garlic, sauteeing them in some olive oil. when the gourd has softened some bit still retained its light green color, drained them of excess water and added them to the pan, mixing it in with the onions and garlic. next, to also ensure the bitterness wasn't too bad, i added a dash of oyster sauce. as it's hanging out, in a seperate bowl, mix break the eggs and whisk, add to hot pan and cook thru. serve with white rice.

verdict: awesome. it reminded me of home. not too bitter and very comforting.

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20 comments:

  1. My mother never did this version with bitter melon and eggs. I really want to try this now.

    As a child, my mother grew these bitter melons on vines on a fence, and she would stuff the melons with the same pork mixture as egg rolls and cook them in stock. What I did was scoop the stock into my bowl of rice to make it soup-y, scoop out the meat mixture and leave the bitter melons for someone else (i.e. my mother). I haven't had this in years and as horribly awful as the bitterness was, I feel a bit nostalgic just thinking about it.

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  2. hi AA!
    just checking out your diff't blogs. i saw this recipe - i was intrigued because i love bitter melon (aka ampalaya in tagalog). my mom makes a similar recipe. she sautees chopped (or sliced) onions with oil and tomatoes, adds eggs (which get scrambled in the process) and the bitter melon. it's one of my favorite foods. nice to see that other people like this vegetable. my husband and daughter don't like it so i don't cook it very often.

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  3. Wow...bitter gourd and scrambled eggs sound like an unusual combination! At home, Mom always crispy-fried the sliced up bitter gourds in a chickpea flour batter...but this one I've got to try....
    Missed you and your blog!

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  4. My ba noi used to make this. It was faster than the stuffed version. She once tossed it with nuoc mam cham for a light salad. I think the vinegar helped tone down the bitterness. I've been meaning to try it myself just to see if I've come around but the bitterness always scares me away.

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  5. Scrambled is a good way to cook them. Another egg dish they're good in is vietnamese omlette style.

    Saute bitter melon and sliced onions in a pan for a few minutes.

    Mix up 6 eggs with pepper, fish sauce, and a little bit of salt. Dump the egg mixture into the pan w/ the veggies. Cook until done. Eat w/ rice and soy! Yum!

    I do love making the stuffed bitter melon soup though. MMmmm.
    Funny enough, my little sister never liked eating the soup when we were younger (I've always loved it) but now she loves it as well. My older bro won't touch it! ha!

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  6. omg, my wife and grandmother loves this. Me not so much, its sooo bitter! However I hear the more the bitter, the better it is for you.
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Phan-tabulous,
    like you, i hated the soup version as a kid but now i actually crave it! just blanch it for a few minutes to get rid of most of the bitterness, it does wonders. promise :)

    caninecologne,
    i will add tomatoes next time around, which will probably be soon. it bet the tomatoes add a nice sweetness to the dish. :)

    wc,
    don't be scared of the bitterness! i think i will try your grandmother's salad version. i think this is my new food addiction.

    cb,
    i am loving the way this dish sounds! so simple and so easy! thank you for sharing this. i'm still researching how to pick the bitter gourd for maximum ripeness and least amount of bitterness. i would like to make the soup sometime soon.

    hw,
    yes i have heard that the more bitter, the better it is for you. of course! but i will still continue to blanch before cooking it to get rid of the bitterness. :)

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  8. amrita,
    i'm thinking anything deep fried is good. :) would you dip it in a sauce or something?

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  9. oh, i think my mom puts in patis (filipino fish sauce) in the recipe as well, but just a tiny bit. you can also add black pepper too. yes, the more bitter, the better! that's what i like - it's usually the darker green colored ones that seem to be more bitter

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  10. Thanks for that post.
    Love to read your blog about bitter gourd.
    I am a Filipina and love amplaya with eggs. It's my favorite ever since I was small. hmmmnnn...yummy!

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  11. caninecologne, patis = awesome!

    Jelly, thank you! i am so surprised that you liked this as a child! it's only when i grew up did i even acquire a taste for it.

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  12. Whenever my mom made it, she'd just whisk a bunch of eggs in a bowl with soy sauce and black pepper, add the sliced bitter melon(and sliced Thai peppers) and scrambled. Simple, yet delicious. I was the only 1 out of us 4 kids that would eat it. The other kids couldn't take the bitterness!

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  13. stephanie, it never ceases to surprise me when i find out that a kid actually liked this stuff! it's such an acquired taste. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for that post.
    Love to read your blog about bitter gourd.
    I am a Filipina and love amplaya with eggs. It's my favorite ever since I was small. hmmmnnn...yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Phan-tabulous,
    like you, i hated the soup version as a kid but now i actually crave it! just blanch it for a few minutes to get rid of most of the bitterness, it does wonders. promise :)

    caninecologne,
    i will add tomatoes next time around, which will probably be soon. it bet the tomatoes add a nice sweetness to the dish. :)

    wc,
    don't be scared of the bitterness! i think i will try your grandmother's salad version. i think this is my new food addiction.

    cb,
    i am loving the way this dish sounds! so simple and so easy! thank you for sharing this. i'm still researching how to pick the bitter gourd for maximum ripeness and least amount of bitterness. i would like to make the soup sometime soon.

    hw,
    yes i have heard that the more bitter, the better it is for you. of course! but i will still continue to blanch before cooking it to get rid of the bitterness. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. omg, my wife and grandmother loves this. Me not so much, its sooo bitter! However I hear the more the bitter, the better it is for you.
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  17. hi AA!
    just checking out your diff't blogs. i saw this recipe - i was intrigued because i love bitter melon (aka ampalaya in tagalog). my mom makes a similar recipe. she sautees chopped (or sliced) onions with oil and tomatoes, adds eggs (which get scrambled in the process) and the bitter melon. it's one of my favorite foods. nice to see that other people like this vegetable. my husband and daughter don't like it so i don't cook it very often.

    ReplyDelete
  18. lol, i was haphazardly clicking through this site and HAD TO leave a comment about this. my first thought was 'YALL ARE NUTS' my second was 'aww... i remember really disliking this...'. props for posting it. it made me think of home, giggle, and go eewww all at the same time =D

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  19. mary, wow that was a whole slew of thoughts & feelings there! thanks for visiting & sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My Cantonese-Cambodian mother makes this too though she occasionally adds chicken to the mix. Before googling this dish, I thought this was something she just randomly threw together. :P

    I love bitter melon. Like the first commenter, we also grow it and eat it stuffed with mushroom and chicken and clear noodles.

    ReplyDelete