Bitter gourd with salted (duck) egg

I've hated bitter gourd (also known as bitter melon) for the longest time. Naturally, I never thought to cook it even though hubby eats it. But after Alex was born, there were a couple of times I felt inspired - I know not why - to order bittergourd from the economical rice stall and I realised I didn't hate it that much any more.

Yesterday, I bravely whipped up my first bittergourd dish and I must say, it was bitter. Well, what was I expecting from a bitter gourd anyway?

I had come across two tips on how to make the bittergourd less bitter:
(i) soak the cut bittergourd in water (with salt and sugar added) for 15min then discard the water and rinse the bittergourd.
(ii) soak the uncut bittergourd in salt water for 15min before cutting the bittergourd.

Which tip did I try?

Well, I tried tip #1. And the bittergourd was still very bitter. I guess I'll be trying tip #2 next time!

For those who love the bitter taste that the bittergourd offers, here's the recipe:

Bitter gourd with salted (duck) egg


  • half a big bitter gourd (follow tip #2 before slicing!)
  • 1 salted egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1/2 bowl water
For soaking the bittergourd:
  • water
  • salt


  1. Soak the bittergourd in water. Add salt to the water and soak the bittergourd for 15min. Rinse.
  2. Cut the bittergourd length-wise then use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the bittergourd into thin slices.
  3. Add oil to wok (I used my Happy Call Pan) and fry minced garlic till fragrant.
  4. Add in bittergourd and fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add in the water, oyster sauce and sugar. Cover the wok.
  6. Meanwhile, crack the raw salted egg into a bowl and cut the yolk into smaller pieces.
  7. When the bittergourd turns a darker hue, pour the salted egg into the wok (as if you are doing an egg drop).
  8. Turn off the fire after 10 sec then cover the wok and let it sit for a couple of minutes before dishing up the food.

Tips for selecting a less bitter bittergourd:

  • Pick one which is a lighter shade of green. Darker green = more bitter!
  • Select one which has less lines on the bittergourd.


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