Fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg Recipe

Bitter Melon with Duck Eggs is a Taiwanese favorite. In Taiwan it is considered to be extremely good for you. It is medicine on the vine in all of Asia. But what is it and how does it taste?

A White Bitter melon is easy to tell by its bumpy, warty oblong-like fruit. It looks like a cucumber with warts that is bent out of shape. Even its flesh can be mistaken for a pale cucumber. It has a spongy and stringy center with seeds, similar to a cucumber. It looks a lot more like a cucumber than a melon. It is the only melon that does not require peeling. Like a cucumber, you can eat peel and flesh.

The inside is pale green to white and has layers of seeds. They can be washed, air-dried and then planted. As this melon ripens, the seeds go from white to red. There is no real taste to the bitter melon itself, it is just bitter. The younger the fruit is on the vine, the more bitter. It is only eaten in soups, stir-frys, and casserole type dishes for the most part. The Taiwanese like to cook bitter melon in a wok with Duck Eggs.

Bitter melon is used throughout Asia as medicine. Bitter melon is rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C and B. It has many other vitamins and minerals. If bitter melon is in the garden, it is used as medicine. It is thought to be good for the liver and has been proven to lower the need for insulin for the diabetic. Bitter melon is antiviral, and has anti-tumor properties. It has been used to treat colds, coughs, flu, and fevers. Bitter melon is one of the kings of the medicinal plants.

So lets look at two very different recipes for cooking bitter melon. The first one is a traditional Taiwanese style recipe.

Fried Bitter gourd (Bitter melon) with Salted Egg (Taiwanese)

1 mid size bitter gourd (Bitter melon)
1 cooked salted duck egg, minced
1 fresh chicken egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic


1. Cut the bitter gourd and remove the pith with a spoon. Cut bitter gourd into slices. Blanch the bitter gourd in boiling water for 2 mins and drain.

2. In a frying pan/ wok, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the 2 cloves of garlic and fry for a min until fragrant.

3. Add minced salted egg and fry until ‘foamy’ and fragrant. Add blanched bittergourd and fry to coat with salted eggs. Add the beaten chicken egg and fry quickly to set.

The second recipe is a fusion recipe between the West and the East. This is an American style Taiwanese recipe. It has been adapted for the Cajun/American Taiwanese. In this recipe, Lamb is added to the stir fry.

Cajun Lamb with Bitter Melon and Salty Duck Egg

1 Bitter melon seeded
200g sliced lamb for stir fry
5 pepper corns
salt to taste
1 chilli sliced seeded-optional
1 clove of garlic roughly crushed
2 slices of ginger


1. slice bitter melon into fine strips at 45 degree angle and then put sliced melon into a bowl of water to take away the bitterness

2. Roughly chop salted duck egg and then set aside

3. heat oil in a wok until oil is hot (do not let oil smoke/burn) put in sliced ginger and let them infuse the oil for 10 seconds then add sliced lamb only cook until they are just cooked. take them out and sit aside

4. heat oil in a clean wok, and then add crushed garlic and leave it to infuse the oil for 1 sec. Drain the bitter melon then add to the wok (it’s ok if it is a bit wet) cook until they are all turn into pale transparent green then add roughly chopped salty duck egg. keep stirring for 1~2 mins then add pepper corns and 2 pinches of cajun spices. Make sure all ingredients are well combined then add a pinch of salt or to taste. then add chilli if you prefer to have a bit of a kick

5. dish it up and serve. This dish goes well with garlic bread or plain boiled rice.

Now you have two very different recipes for using Bitter Melon. The first is the more traditional Taiwanese style and the second an American Taiwanese fusion of a traditional recipe. Bitter melon is easy to grow in the garden and is available in almost every Asian Market. Try it wherever you live.
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