Tumis Pare: Stir-Fried Bitter Gourd

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Tumis pare, or stir-fried bitter gourd, is as bitter as its name suggests. When enjoying this dish, we always crack the same lame joke that never fails to make us laugh: life is more bitter than the bitter gourd we’re eating. 

Because of its uniquely bitter taste, this vegetable is not everyone’s favourite, and I started out not liking it at all. But over the years, I began to acquire a taste for it, and now I have learnt to appreciate it more. I’ve slowly realized that the unusual bitter taste can also delight our palates. Maybe that’s how life is. We need just the right amount of every flavour in our life in order to enjoy it fully.

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Tumis Pare: Stir-Fried Bitter Gourd

Tumis Pare: Stir-Fried Bitter Gourd

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This stir-fried bitter gourd recipe is quick and easy, and does not contain chilli at all. Suitable for a starch-free one-pot meal, as it contains eggs and chicken bouillon in addition to bitter gourd.


  • 2 medium-sized bitter gourds (around 300 gr)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Salt to taste

Tumis Pare ingredients


  1. Cut the bitter gourd in half, scrape the inside until clean, then slice thinly. 
  2. Put the bitter gourd slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the bitter gourd slices with cold water, and then set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok over medium fire.
  5. Saute the minced garlic for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add the bitter gourd, salt, chicken bouillon and water, mix well
  7. Add the eggs and stir it as if you’re making a scrambled egg
  8. Continue cooking and stirring until all the liquid has evaporated (around 7-10 minutes)
  9. When done, transfer the dish to a serving plate.


  • For this dish, do not use the smaller gourd variety, because it has a very intense bitter flavour. Use the medium-sized or larger variety with lighter color. The darker the color, the more bitter. To reduce the bitterness, sprinkle the bitter gourd with salt after slicing it and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse well with cold water. 

Keywords: Non-spicy, Quick & Easy, One-Pot Meal

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