Today’s “Plat du Jour” for hubby’s bento is Okinawan Goya Chanpuru accompanied with crispy Kisu fish and rice topped with tamago.
Goya Chanpuru has become our favourite since we returned from Okinawa last December. We ate it almost daily when we were there. Goya is bitter gourd, its an acquired taste. But once you learn to love it, its one of the superfood to keep in your diet. Its been believed that bitter gourd contributed to the successful aging of many centenarians in Okinawa.
We are lucky enough to be able to buy imported fresh goya from Okinawa in our local supermarket. Its quite pricey, about $6 each, but its worth it because unlike the local bitter gourd, the texture remains crisp and crunchy even if its been left cooking for a while.
Goya Chanpuru Bento Recipe
Goya Chanpuru : 1 Okinawan bittergourd, 1 small can of spam chopped into cubes, 1 small package of firm organic tofu/beancurd chopped into cubes, 2-3 tbs bonita stock, 1 tbs of white miso, 1 tsp of fermented tofu/beancurd paste(optional), cooking sake, shoyu, sliced garlic, 1 egg ( I omitted the egg here as the rice has egg topping)
I usually cut the bitter gourd into half and use a tablespoon to scrap off the seeds and the white bitter flesh, leaving only the green flesh. Cut into thin slices and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sea salt evenly over the bitter gourd and let it rest for about 20 minutes to remove the bitterness. After 20 minutes, you will notice a small amount of liquid residue at the bottom of the bowl, this liquid is the extracted bitterness from the bitter gourd. Drain and rinse a few times to remove the salt. If you want to remove more of the bitterness, you can parboil the bitter gourd for a few minutes. I love the bitterness together with the saltiness of spam and sweetness of the stock.
Pan fry the spam chunks and garlic for 2-3 minutes, add in the bitter gourd and stir fry til they wither slightly. Then add in the tofu, miso, sake, fermented tofu paste and mix it well. At this point, you can make a clearing in the centre of the pan add in the egg. Scramble the egg and when its about to set, mix with the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the bonita stock and shoyu to taste.
You can top it with bonita flakes for the finishing touch.
Kisu fish : sprinkle some rice flour and salt over the fillets and pan fry them in a little oil til both sides are crispy.
Tamago strips : I mix 1 egg with some bonita stock and salt. Pan fry it over gentle heat and roll them into tamago yaki and cut into strips.