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Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu

Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu

Braised bitter gourd with tofu is tender melt-in-the-mouth, with thick, velvet-like gravy that is filled with umami flavours. Due to the braising method, the bitterness of the gourd is reduced even without washing it with salt.

It’s delicious with fluffy white rice and only takes about 30 minutes with minimal effort.

Ingredients

Bitter gourd – a young bitter gourd is perfect for braising. Its bitterness is milder than the old one, and the texture is firm and very tender after braising. Its flavour also goes well with the sweet-salty and umami sauce.

Tofu – pre-fried tofu is highly recommended for this Braised Bitter Gourd and Tofu dish. Its texture is firm enough to withstand braising with the bitter gourd. Soft or silken tofu is not recommended as it breaks apart easily when stir-fried. Firm tofu can be used to replace fried tofu if unavailable.

All the ingredients needed: bitter gourd, water, tapioca flour, garlic, tofu, and seasonings.

Seasonings – light soy sauce, thick soy sauce, and oyster sauce give a tasty, salty flavour to the dish, balanced out with the deep umami flavour of taucu, or fermented bean paste. The sesame oil provides a delicious aroma, just like caramelized garlic. Sugar is necessary to balance out the saltiness of the sauces and taucu.

Garlic – is stir-fried first to infuse its flavours into the scentless cooking oil. This gives the gravy a mild garlicky flavour all around.

Steps

Here is the overview to make Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu.

Steps 1-4: Preparing the flour slurry, tofu, and bitter gourd. Caramelizing the garlic.
  1. Prepare flour slurry.
  2. Cut tofu.
  3. Cut bitter gourd.
  4. Caramelized garlic.
Steps 5-8: Cooking the Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu
  1. Coat bitter gourd with cooking oil.
  2. Mix in the seasonings, tofu and water.
  3. Braise for 17 minutes, or until soft.
  4. Stir in the flour slurry and serve.

Tips

  • The thinner the bitter gourd pieces, the softer and more tender they will be. You can adjust the thickness according to your preference.
  • Fried tofu gives the best texture to this dish. Firm tofu can work as well. Soft or silken tofu is not recommended as it will break apart easily during stir-frying.
  • The flour slurry is optional as the gravy tends to be quite thick. If a velvet-like texture is preferred, add it in.
  • Make sure to watch the full video to see how I made it exactly!

Storage Instructions

Although this dish is best served immediately, leftovers can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container overnight. It can be reheated later over the stove.

Freezing is not recommended as the ice crystals formed will affect the texture of the tofu.

Let’s Eat!

Delicious! Soft and tender, the bitter gourd has an almost melt-in-the-mouth texture. It contrasts so well with the chewiness of the tofu pieces. The gravy is also very smooth and goes so well with rice.

braised bitter gourd tofu feature 2

It has a perfect balance of saltiness, and sweetness, with a subtle umami-ness and a light bitterness at the end.

Hope you have enjoyed this recipe 😀

braised bitter gourd with tofu square

Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu

Somjit Najaireeb
Braised Bitter Gourd with Tofu is tasty with a salty-sweet fermented beans sauce and a mild bitter aftertaste. Add chewy tofu for a variance of texture wrap in thick, velvety gravy. Perfect for a quick meal!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 335 kcal

Equipment

  • Sharp Kitchen Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Non-Stick Frying Pan
  • Silicone Spatula

Ingredients

Flour Slurry

  • 3.5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour

Main Dish

  • 2 blocks tofu, pre-fried/ firm
  • 1 young bitter gourd, medium
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled & crushed
  • cups water

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp taucu, fermented bean paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Garnishing

  • 1 tbsp crispy fried shallots

Instructions
 

  • Make the flour slurry. Mix 50ml of water with tapioca flour.
  • Cut the tofu into 12-14 pieces per block. Set aside.
  • Remove the tips from the bitter gourd. Cut it into half. Scrape the seeds and the white fibres to remove them. Slice the bitter gourd thinly, about 0.5cm, and set aside.
  • In a pan over medium heat, add cooking oil and crushed garlic. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly caramelized.
  • Add all the bitter gourd. Stir to coat it with oil lightly.
  • Add water, light soy sauce, sesame oil, taucu and sugar. Stir lightly to combine.
  • Add the cut tofu and 250ml of water. Give it a mix. Cover the pan and let it braise for 17 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan.
  • Taste and adjust as preferred.
  • Optionally, pour in the flour slurry. Adjust with 50ml of water if too thick. Stir and mix to combine.
  • Switch off the heat and dish it out. Garnish with crispy fried shallots and serve.

Video

Notes

Tips 
  • Cornstarch is commonly used instead of tapioca flour. As I’m allergic to cornstarch, I have adapted this recipe. If using cornstarch, be sure to reduce the amount by 30% as it is more viscous than tapioca flour.
  • The thinner the bitter gourd pieces, the softer and more tender they will be. The thickness can be adjusted according to preference.
  • Fried tofu gives the best texture for this dish. Firm tofu can work as well. Soft or silken tofu is not recommended as it will break apart easily during stir-frying.
  • The flour slurry is optional as the gravy tends to be quite thick. If a velvet-like texture is preferred, add it in.
  • Make sure to watch the full video to see how I made it exactly!
Storage Instructions
Although this dish is best served immediately, leftovers can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container overnight. It can be reheated later over the stove.
Freezing is not recommended as the ice crystals formed will affect the texture of the tofu.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 12gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 814mgPotassium: 392mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1756IUVitamin C: 54mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 5mg
Keyword bitter gourd, taucu, tofu
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