I do go to Taiwan very frequently for business but as with most business trips, your activities tend be circumcribed within a certain convenient perimeter around the hotel and office. This last vacation in Taipei with my friends has really helped me discover places that I had never been to. I am already earmarking certain eateries and shops for revisiting when I return again.
I first ate this dish Fried Bittergourd with Salted Egg last year when my distributor took me to his friend's restaurant for lunch. I fell in love with it and had wanted since then to try cooking it at home. This time in Taiwan, I ate this again when we went up to Wulai (??) for a bit of hiking. (We had originally wanted to cycle there but the terrain was too steep and demanding for amateur cyclists like us) It was done wetter than the version I had earlier and was less fragrant. Then, during our cycling trip from Taipei to Danshui ????we passed by GuanDu Temple (???) where we were told to stop and buy their local specialty - salted eggs and century eggs. For those who wonder what salted eggs are, these are preserved eggs prepared by soaking, usually duck eggs in brine or densely packing the eggs with salted damp charcoal. In Singapore, it is common to find these black mud coated eggs in the market. We would usually then need to remove the black charcaol paste and hardboil the egg for consumption. The salty egg white is a perfect accompaniment to plain porridge and the egg yolk is the jewel that lures with its savory fragrance.
In Taiwan, almost all salted eggs are sold cooked. A little strange for me and to be honest, I didn't find the salted eggs at Guandu Temple impressive. The egg yolk is too dry for my liking. In my opinion, salted egg yolks should have a golden oily sheen to it.... Anyway, each of us bought like 10 salted eggs and a pack of century eggs, chuck them into our backpack and went back to complete our cycling route to Danshui...
So at last, I decided to try my hand at cooking this dish at home yesterday. Again, I had no recipe to follow, I just minced up the salted eggs and fry it together with the bittergourd. It tasted different from the ones I had eaten last year - I thought the salted eggs wasn't as fragrant. Perhaps I should try it with local Salted eggs again...
1 mid size bittergourd
11/2 cooked salted egg, minced.
1/2 fresh chicken egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic
1. Cut the bittergourd and remove the pith with a spoon. Cut bittergourd into slices. Blanch the bittergourd in boiling water for 2 mins and drain.
2. In a frying pan/ wok, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the 2 cloves of garlic and fry for a min until fragrant.
3. Add minced salted egg and fry until 'foamy' and fragrant. Add blanched bittergourd and fry to coat with salted eggs. Add the beaten chicken egg and fry quickly to set.