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Goya champura recipe

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Adjust Servings:
10½ oz (300 g) block firm Tofu
10½­14 oz (300-400 g) Bitter Melon (known in Japanese as nigauri or goya), sliced in half lengthways, seeds and white pith scraped out and discarded
1 tsp fine Sea Salt , plus more for seasoning
7 oz (200 g) Pork belly, thinly sliced then cut into 2cm (¾ inch) pieces
2 tbsp Sake
2 large Egg
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
1 tsp instant Dashi Powder
2 tbsp Soy Sauce , plus 1 tbsp to finish off
½ tbsp toasted Sesame Oil
toasted White Sesame Seeds
Sea Salt
freshly ground Black Pepper , to taste
Optional Garnishes
generous drizzle of Japanese Mayonnaise or homemade Japanese Kewpie-style Mayonnaise
La Yu Chili Oil
handful of Katsuoboshi flakes
sprinkle of Green Laver

Goya champura recipe

  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • Optional Garnishes



Goya Champuru is a classic home-cooking dish from the sub-tropical island of Okinawa in Japan. There are many versions, but all will include bitter melon (known as goya in Okinawan dialect). The goya bitterness is surprisingly addictive.



Drain the tofu. Place it inside a colander or plastic sieve (strainer), put a plate over the tofu and top it with a heavy weight. This will help to draw out the water. Let it press for 15­-20 minutes inside your sink or in a deep tray.


Meanwhile, slice the bitter melon into 1-cm (½-inch) thick diagonal slices. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt and mix thoroughly to coat. Let it stand for 10 minutes to soften some of the bitterness. In a bowl, lightly season the pork slices with salt and black pepper, add the sake and mix well, then let it rest for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a little sea salt and black pepper.


Rinse the bitter melon slices under fresh running water to remove the salt. Drain and pat dry with a clean tea towel (dish cloth). Drain the tofu and pat dry with kitchen paper (paper towel) or a clean tea towel (dish cloth). With your hands, break the tofu up into irregular chunks 3­-4 cm (1¼­1½ inches) thick.


Heat half the sunflower oil in a wok. Add the tofu pieces and fry on a high heat until golden, turning them gently so they are evenly coloured. Transfer them with a slotted spoon to a plate or tray. Add the rest of the sunflower oil to the wok and stir-fry the bitter melon slices for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften. Transfer them to a clean plate.


Add the pork and sake to the pan and stir-fry until it turns pale and starts to brown a little. Return the bitter melon and tofu pieces, add the instant dashi powder and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and gently fold these into the mixture. Continue stir-frying over a high heat for 1 more minute. Push everything to one side of the wok. Pour in the beaten eggs and scramble it, then gently mix it in with the other ingredients. Check for seasoning and add another tablespoon of soy sauce and more black pepper if desired. Finish off with a drizzle of sesame oil and white sesame seeds. Turn off the heat.


The Goya Champuru can be served as it is, but for some added Japanese flavours you can transfer it to a serving platter and use some of these optional ingredients – a generous drizzle of Japanese mayonnaise and/or La Yu chilli oil, topping it with katsuobushi flakes and aonori seaweed. I like using them all!


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