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Monday, September 29, 2008

Ampalaya and my cooking secret

Do you know what a bitter melon is? Sometimes it's called bitter gourd. It's called different names in different regions but here in the Philippines, we call it ampalaya.

Yes, it's bitter and lots of people hate it. I'm not one of them. I love, love, LOVE this bitter fruit! Mostly because it's got loads and loads of good stuff in it. Partly because I know how to perfectly cook it and get rid of the bitterness. Ah-huh, bet my neck on that!

I can make ampalaya dishes without a hint of bitterness in the cooked dish. Oh, wait, I said that already. Time to spill my secret.

The trick is super simple. DO NOT MIX. That's right. Once the ampalaya slices are in the pan, leave it there, but be sure they're evenly distributed to get equal heat from the pan, though. Then, just very simply, leave it there to cook on the sides. Resist the urge to stir. Something with the stirring in the heat releases the bitter ampalaya taste. And to make sure they don't scorch, leave it in low-medium heat. After a minute, briefly flip the whole thing to get the other side a chance to cook. There, ridiculously simple. I hope restaurants learn to cook ampalaya this way so we don't have to eat bitter ampalayas anymore.

Here's a pic of an ampalaya dish I did awhile back. I like this vegetable best when cooked like this, and when pickled.

ampalaya with egg

Here's the recipe (in case you're interested):
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 medium sized ampalaya, sliced (how thinly is up to you)
  • 1/4 cup meat broth, or as substitute: 1 pork cube, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 medium eggs, slightly beaten
Heat the oil in a wok or pan. Saute garlic and onions. Add ampalaya, do not mix.

After about a minute, add broth. Give it another minute then pour over the slightly beaten egg. All this time, keep your heat in low-medium. Wait until the egg has set slightly, then flip over the vegetables to properly cook the other side.

I love this on breakfasts.

image from http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Ligaya September 30, 2008 at 12:55 AM  

I like pickled ampalaya too!!

"Bet my neck" -- hah! sounds like Ms. G to me! ;-)

Hi! I'm Ruby September 30, 2008 at 6:02 AM  

yummy! thank you for this recipe :)

chris September 30, 2008 at 6:33 AM  

double yuck! my wife loves it, my mom can't have enough of it, but I truly hate it!

tashabud September 30, 2008 at 7:03 AM  

This is the absolute dish. I love this dish. Unfortunately, we're nowhere close to a place to get them. So, seeing this in your blog is total torture!


carey @ happysteps.net September 30, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

thanks for sharing your ampalaya secret! i don't mind the bitter taste though... anyway, looking at the photo just made me hungry for ampalaya! :D

Jena Isle October 1, 2008 at 7:16 PM  

This is one of my favorites. It's good my DIL cooks it very well . I could eat and eat if that's my viand...yummy.

Constance Chan October 2, 2008 at 7:22 AM  

i like this dish. i like bittergourd. some say, if you can accept this food, you can take bitterness with a pinch of salt (metaphor)..

check out my blog contest here: http://almanacqueen.com/2008/09/30/bento-gifts-to-4-lucky-commentators/

iceah October 3, 2008 at 7:51 AM  

baka naman maover cook wala na yung nutrients nya c:

i also got this from a chef. after slicing or chopping it put it in water because the when it is exposed in air it also makes it bitter c:

so i see that it is also called bitter melon c: another learning here c:

Zen Ventures October 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM  

Yum Paborito ko din ito! Ang hubby ko na-infuence ko din and now he likes it! I think he is the only american out here that actually eats it! :)

Constance Chan October 3, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

after seeing this i went to buy myself one to cook for dinner today..hehehe


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