Curry powder (preferably imported from Malaysia or Singapore)
Pandan leaves (optional)
Combine all of the "a" ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a paste-like consistency.
Grease a pot with oil, and heat the paste from Step 1. Once cooked through, add the "b" ingredients and stir-fry until the moisture evaporates, and the paste is reduced by 1/2 the original amount.
To prepare the bitter gourd, slice it in half lengthwise, carefully scoop out the pith with a spoon, then slice it into 8-mm thick rounds.
Slice the onion into thick slices.
Cut the okra in half, and roughly chop the eggplant into chunks (then soak in water). Cut the atsuage and satsuma-age into similarly sized chunks. Sizes can be random.
Add the ingredients prepared in Steps 3-5 to the pot, and stir-fry. The photo shows how it should look in Step 7.
Once the ingredients are cooked through, add the curry powder. Cook while stir-frying. The photo shows the curry powder I use.
Add enough water to cover the ingredients, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
For those who are not on a diet, add coconut milk to taste (but do not let it boil after adding).
For those on a diet, if you prefer a richer taste, add a small amount of evaporated milk or milk.
The top photo shows it with zucchini. I also topped it with fried onion chips. Also, in order to show the vegetables, the photo was taken before adding the soup.
If available, add pandan leaves in Step 8.
If preparing vegetarian style, omit the satsuma-age.
Story Behind this Recipe
Combining the good parts of the recipes I learned from a Malaysian friend and my partner's aunt who runs a restaurant on Pinang Island in Malaysia, I came up with my own vegetarian curry.
In Step 1, add red chili pepper if desired. The amount of spice depends on the type of curry powder; if using Japanese curry powder, add red chili pepper for an authentic flavor. I recommend the Baba brand of Malaysian curry powder.