Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ginisang Ampalaya (Bittermelon with Shrimps)

Bittermelon, Ampalaya to the Filipinos.
It lives up to its name ... bitter. The most bitter edible vegetable.
Bittermelon is a member of the gourd family. 
It is known to contain phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P,
 a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. 
It is an excellent source for different nutrients and flavanoid 
such as folates, vitamin A,
 beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthins.
Most of these nutrients play a role in prevention
of aging, cancers, and various diseases.
I'll eat it everyday if I have to.
I'm not ready to see lines on my face yet.
I use to hate this when I was a child,
I never understood why the adults love it so much.
The oldies would tell us, "It's good for you,
it has plenty of nutrients and vitamin C."
That never worked, I refused to eat it.
It was too bitter.
As I grew older,
I have learned to appreciate the different flavors and textures of food.
And have been willing to try anything,
anything healthy,
anything that is not from a can or a box that just need microwave heating.
Filipinos have this silly mentality
 that everything with a barcode from a different country is good food.
Thanks to all the food shows,
food blogs, social media, and just simply the internet,
it is slowly changing.

Of course, my children refuses to eat this as well.
But just like any other bitter tasting vegetables, such as broccoli,
I am not giving up.
I just give it to them in the tiniest bite,
hoping one day they'll appreciate this dish like I have.
There are different ways to make this dish,
with a bit of broth, or just dry, thin and chunky slices of bittermelon,
 with meat or shrimps or just the vegetables itself.
I prefer mine it with broth and I sliced the bittermelon thin,
it lessens the bitterness of the dish.



2 pcs. Bittermelon or Ampalaya, seeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup of vegetable broth or water
2 eggs, beaten
10-12 pcs. shrimps (optional)
1 cup pork, small cubes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste 
  • scoop out seeds.

  • thinly slice bittermelon.

  • soak sliced bittermelon in salted water, for about 15 mins. (1 tbsp salt to 3 cups water)
  • Rinse and squeeze out all liquid from bittermelon, transfer to another bowl.
  • In medium high heat, sautee onions, tomatoes, and garlic until garlic is lightly brown.
  • Add vegetable broth or water.
  • Add bittermelon, cook until broth boils.
  • Add eggs, cook for another 2 mins.
  • Take out from heat and serve.
  • I chose to slice the bittermelon thin, it helps lessen the bitter taste of the dish.
  • You can also slice it to about 1/2 inch thick if you prefer it chunky.
  • Best serve with steamed rice.
  • For my vegetarian friends, you can of course totally omit the shrimps and pork.


  1. Probably every child who met bittermelon went through the same aversion phase?

    I love it now too, just with some eggs and hotsauce, a great quick dinner.

  2. Do you know, in some parts of the world we use the leaves more than the vegetable? It's true.


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