Vegetarian Goya Chanpuru

I still think that Okinawa and Indonesia are related somehow. One of Okinawa’s beloved vegetable, goya (their bitter melon), is extremely well known and used all over Indonesia, under the name pare/paria. Even the way most people consume it is the same, stir frying it. The Japanese name for the dish is Goya Chanpuru. Phonetically the word “chanpuru” will read as “campur”, which in Bahasa Indonesia means mix. And true to the word, usually you eat goya/pare/paria mixed with something else.

Monday is typically my vegetarian day. Look, I’m not a vegetarian by default, and an extremely far cry from being a vegan. However, I adore fresh vegetables and try to keep at least one day a week as a vegetarian day to reset the body’s internal system and cleanse my taste buds. In my fridge there is one goya sitting and waiting to be processed. Since I have some tofu sitting around, as well as some shimeji mushroom, I thought to do my vegetarian take on the dish. The meal was quick to process, from start to finish probably less than 20 minutes, perfect for midweek dinner when you tend to not have time to fluff about. Another day I’ll attempt the Indonesian take on the mellon and report the result. After all, I do have some tempeh fermenting away as we speak!

Vegetarian Goya Chanpuru


2 Tbsp sesame oil

1/2 pack of shimeji mushroom, about 100 grams, (can be replaced with other mushrooms) trimmed & cut roughly about 2cm in length

1 goya/ bitter mellon, cut into half and clean the inside using a spoon. Then slice thinly (about 2mm) into crescent shape

1 pack of firm tofu (momen tofu), drain and dice to make about 1×1 cm cubes

1 large egg (about 60 grams), whisk lightly (can be skipped if you wish to make the dish vegan)


1 Tbsp powdered mushroom dashi

1 Tbsp mentsuyu soba/udon noodles dipping sauce (I used Ozawa’s macrobiotic mushroom based mentsuyu)

salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat sesame oil in your skillet over moderate heat
  • Add mushroom and stir-fry until wilted, about 3 minutes
  • Lower the heat, add goya and stir-fry until wilted together with the mushroom, about 5 minutes
  • Add tofu, stir fry until mixed and heated up, about 2 minutes. Careful not to overmix as tofu can break easily
  • Add whisked egg and mix quickly (under 30 seconds)
  • All at once sprinkle all the condiments and mix quickly, cover with the lid for about 1 minute
  • Serve with steamed rice on the side

Serves 4


Categories: Japanese, Le Creuset Project, Lunch, Mains, Midweek, Off-the-book, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Author:Tari Martosudirjo Keitt

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