That’s the beast. Goya. Say go-ya. It’s the infamous bitter cucumber. I didn’t like it much the first time… That really depends how it’s prepared. Now it’s one of my favorites.
What is great about it ? Well, it has all the antioxidants of dark greens, watery texture and hydrating property of cucumbers, fiber and also thanks to bitterness it’s great to eat in hot weather.
A few years ago, that was not common in Osaka. That’s known as an Okinawan vegetable. But people got hooked to it, and more was proposed on markets, then they tried to grow it even in “continental” Japan. So we get it cheaply in season, available all year. The hot season is ending now… but I still get it a couple of times.
Red seeds indicate extreme maturation in sunlight. They are good, just eat them at once.
There are white ones too, with similar taste.
You simply need to discard seeds and scrub the white part.
Often sliced that way.
Preparation tips :
1. eat it raw, or only slightly cooked before it loses vivid colors : salads, steamed, stir-fry, etc
2. you can reduce bitterness by scrubbing well, slicing finely and salting then letting 20 minutes and rinsing
What to do with it ?
As a drink :
Shiri-shiri with goya
Another goya shiri shiri
Go~ya champloo~ and Okinawan soba
white bean goya
chakin egg sushi and natsu chirashi
white goya in pesto rice