Friday, September 2, 2011

Ginisang Ampalaya (Sauteed Bitter Melon)

Ampalaya or Bitter melon is a vien that is widely cultivated in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbeans for its edible fruit. There are several different varieties that differ in shape, size, and degree of bitterness.It is usually consumed when it is unripe and green in color. As the fruit ripen, its bitterness intesifies which renders it inedible. The ripe fruit also becomes tougher and yellow in color. Unripened fruit has white pith shich neds to be removed before cooking In the Philippines, ampalaya is often sauteed with pork and eggs or as an ingredient in another Filipino dish, Pinakbet.

Ampalaya is often valued for its medicinal uses and have been widely used as an herbal medicine in the Philippines, China, and Japan. It is thought to be good remedy for conditions such as intestinal parasites, malaria, viral infection, diabetes,fever, burns, scabies, and colic. It has been endorsed by the Philippine department of health as an herbal alternative to cure the aforementioned illnesses. As part of the movement to promote its use, several products that uses ampalaya as a base have come out including tea, bread, and pill supplements. Don't ask me how effective they are because I honestly have no clue nor have I tried them :)

Ampalaya is not a fruit for everyone as it an acquired taste. If you wantto cut down on its bitterness, you can sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt on ampalaya after it has been sliced thinly. Let it stand for a few minutesor until you begin to see it sweat (becomes watery). You can squeeze the fluid out before sauteeing. As for e, I love the bitter and distict taste that ampalaya has so I skip this method. I used to hate eating this when I was grouwing up but once I lived on my own, I began to crave for this dish every once in a while. I guess I do miss home and my mom's home cooking more that I care to admit sometimes...hehehe.


2 bitter melon, pith and seeds removed then sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tomato, cut into small cubes
2 cloved garlic, chopped finely
1/2 lb pork, cubed
2 eggs, beaten slightly
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat pan over medium. Add garlic and onions and saute until translucent.
2. Add tomato and continue cooking until soft.
3. Add pork and saute until all the liquid has evaporated and pork has turned brown.
4. Add Add about 1 cup of water and let it boil until pork is tender. Add water as needed until pork is cooked.
5. Continue to simmer until almost all of the fluids has evaporated
6. Add bitter melon. You can add about 1/4 cup of water but I generally dont since the bitter melon will sweat out some liquid. Cook until alost all of the fluid has evaporated.
7. Add beaten egg and cook until it is done. Remove from heat and transfer into serving platter.

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