Stir Fry with Bitter Melon, Tofu, Spam, Fish Cake and Egg

Goya Champuru is probably the most well-known Okinawan home dish. ‘Goya’ means ‘bitter melon’ and ‘Champuru’ means ‘mix’ or ‘blend’. This is an Okinawan style stir-fry dish and, as the name suggests, it is a mix of different ingredients. There are many variations of goya champru.

The recipe and instructions below belong to Ms Keiko Higa – Okinawa Goodwill Ambassador & Cooking Specialist.

While there is no right or wrong way to cook goya champru, her goya champru is one of the tastiest among the many variations.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 goya (bitter melon or bitter gourd)
1 firm tofu
1/2 spam or pork
1 egg
Little salt
Dashi soy sauce (soy & stock mixture) – soup base can be used alternatively
Cooking oil (any)
Soy sauce
Kamaboko fish cake (optional)
Sesame oil (optional)


Cut the goya into halves.
Scoop out the seeds and spongy centre.
Slice the goya.
Rub the slices with a pinch of salt and leave for 10 minutes to soften.

Cut tofu into 1cm thick slices.
Drain water out of tofu and scatter a little salt to season.
Cover the sliced tofu with flour. This prevents tofu from collapsing.
Cook the tofu beforehand on a pan or wok.
Bake until the both surfaces start to brown and put it aside.

Spam or Pork
Also cook spam (or pork) beforehand.

Cooking Directions

Heat up a pan or wok and oil the surface.
Place the salted goya slices at first and stir fry. Pour the dashi (soy and stock mixture) over the goya slices. This makes the goya even softer.
Add the pre-cooked tofu and then, add the pre-cooked spam.
Cut the tofu roughly into halves on the pan and stir fly. Sprinkle a little salt. Toss to mix together.
Add sliced kamaboko (fish cake). This is optional.
Season with dashi (stock) powder and salt.
Sprinkle sesami oil if you like.
Lastly, add the beaten egg around the cooked ingredients. As it start to set, flip it over as if wrapping the ingredients over with the egg.
Lastly, add a little bit of soy sauce to finish.
Ready to eat!

Yummy Yummy!

Cooking Demonstration by Keiko Higa – Okinawa Goodwill Ambassador & Cooking Specialist
From Okinawan Ryori Workshop at Ryokan Gojyuan on 17 April 2017

Photo by Masami Urasaki