Sunday, February 14, 2010

Filipino Bitter Melon

So I bought this vegetable in the Asian store the other day and wasn't sure what it was and how to cook it so I tweeted the picture and got a recipe from the Tangled Noodle from this blog, a great Filipino food blog


  • 3 bitter melon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • rock salt
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion

  1. Cut the bitter melon or ampalaya open and scoop out the insides, this is important to get the bitterness away, many folks tweeted this to me!
  2. then rub with salt and rinse, Tangled noodle states that her Mum soaks in salt water, maybe I will do this next time
  3. heat oil, saute onion, garlic, red pepper for 3 minutes
  4. then add the tomato and bitter melon and stir fry for 10-15 minutes, near the end scramble in the eggs.
To be honest this wasn't my cup of tea still too bitter, its called karela in Indian Cuisine and my hubby loves it. He really enjoyed this recipe and even went back for seconds. So go on give it a try there's a 50/50 chance of liking it!

Has anyone else had this before and how did you cook it?

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  1. Cool! The salt water thing may work but you will still have the bitterness. this is an acquired taste. I love the bitterness so I am totally ok with it. I love it in fish soups. Maybe give this a shot. I try and find some and make it.

  2. I still have to learn to love this bitter melon. It's so good for you, I'm going to try it again!

  3. I make it at my Indian clients house, and love it, make it spicy and eat it with pickle and roti! Yum I have to try it this way. The fry it in North Indian recipes...

  4. I took a class on alternative medicine and in it we learned about ayurvedic medicine. One of the foods they had us taste was this bitter gourd. I have to say I'm not really a fan but kudos to you for at least trying it!

  5. Penny: thanks for the tips will look forward to your recipe
    Fresh local and best: oh you go girl!
    Chef E: thats cool
    Joanne; oh it must be good for us, wish it tasted sweeter he he

  6. I've never tried those! I've seen them around so I will have to get some and try this recipe!

  7. simple and yummy dish, never tried this though but sounds good...

  8. It is an acquired taste...I dnt like it bt hubby does...but its good for highblood pressure they say!

  9. I've never heard of a bitter melon...I sure would like to try it...Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hey Rebecca,
    Good job! Not many attempt to try out this veggie. As Penny said you need to acquire a taste for it.
    Here's my link on the nutritional benefits and an unconventional yet tasty way of preparing it-Karela paratha- Do check it out.

    Btw its "karela" not Kerala.

  11. This looks exactly as I remember the dish! I'm fairly sensitive about overly strong flavors but had never been put off by any bitterness when I've eaten ampalaya made by others. When *I* make it, it's way too strong! When I manage to get my mother's secret, I promise to pass it on to you. 8-)

  12. I have another recipe that you might wanna try with the bitter melon.

    Here's the link: Amaplaya con Carne

  13. My mom always does the same thing with her bittermelon. She mixes ground pork or chicken, ground shrimp, onion, black pepper, sugar, fish sauce, and dried black mushroom, and clear tapioca noodle. Stuff the bittermelon and then boil it in water mixed with sugar and fish sauce. Then let cook. Garnish with green onion and cilantro if you want and then eat with rice!

  14. I'm not a huge fan of bittermelon, but I do like to eat it once in a while. It's a healthy veg. Very good for the digestive system.

  15. We also called this bitter gourd, it helps to stimulate digestion and lower glucose level.
    I usually cut the bitter into slices and sprinkle salt over it and place in colander to drain for about 10-15 mins. For Chinese cooking, bitter melon will cook with soup, fry with eggs and I like to cook bitter melon with fermented black beans and pork ribs.

  16. Never tried out anything with this bitter melong, this dish sounds interesting..thanks for sharing..

  17. Very curious. what did it taste like, could you compare to any other vegetable?

  18. Un légume que je ne connais pas.
    A bientôt.

  19. Un légume que je ne connais pas.
    A bientôt.

  20. Wow! Never saw anything like this, Rebecca! Looks interesting..good for you for trying it!

  21. I haven't had this yet! Bitter melon is a very interesting ingredient, will be looking for it in my supermarket.

  22. I have never seen this anywhere - kind of love the name "bitter melon" - the anithesis of what I think a melon is.

  23. I commend you for trying this and finding a recipe too!

  24. Interesting... well done you for persevering to find a recipe for it. Not sure it would be my kind of thing either, I am a bit icky about okra and it looks like giant okra to me!!

  25. Very interesting Rebecca, I love learning about new vegetables! I'll have to see if I enjoy this also thanks for sharing the filipino blog!

  26. un plat que je ne connais pas mais qui parait délicieux
    bonne soirée

  27. Sook: oh hope you like it
    sushma: hope you like it
    Zurin: that sounds like me!
    Bo my pleasure
    Shirley: always willing to try something once thanks for the recipe
    tangled noodle bring on the secret!
    peachkins; oh thanks it looks great
    Pauline: oh I want to try your mums cooking
    jenn: good to know lol
    Anncoo: oh sounds good with black beans
    Priya: u will have to try
    Ruth oh its its own taste lol
    saveurs de gormandises thanks
    Barbara: smiles
    Sophie: aw thanks
    5 star foodie in an Asian market
    Claudia: you could write about it
    Sarah: oh i love okra though
    Diana: maybe you can grow it
    fimere thanks

  28. Kudos to you for giving it a go, Rebecca. I am not sure it would be my cup of tea but I am willing to give it a try.

  29. Rebecca, I love bitter melon and would love to try your is one of those either you love it or you hate it :-)

  30. Bridgett: thanks so much lol
    Juliana: oh cool you will like this one then

  31. My mum makes a very similar dish and it's my favourite thing to eat of all time! I love bittergourd, especially in an egg drop soup. OOOh. i want some of this so bad.

  32. I also can't take the bitterness of this vegetable (called ampalaya from where I come from) so after the soaking and scrubbing with salt I make sure to drain it really well and then squeeze out the extra liquid with paper towels...I put a lot of effort in this as this really takes the "edge" off the bitterness :) My husband loves this too! Glad you gave it a whirl :)

  33. i am a filipino and loved it when i saw a filipino recipe in your blog.

    you have to soak it in water with salt for a few minutes to remove the bitterness of the veggie.

    hope to find more pinoy recipes here next time i visit :)

    do visit and leave your mark on my blogs :)
    RJ's day to day activities
    Journal of RJ's mom

  34. Becca, I absolutely love this veggie! I grew up eating it and it took me my whole childhood and early adolescent years just to acquire its bitter taste! K ... Maybe I'll share with you ways to cook it sometime ... We love it here ... though you know there're exceptions in every case ...

  35. Yes, the salt water soak helps a lot! Another trick is to look at how tightly the ridges on the bittermelon are -- if I remember correctly, the closer the ridge the more bitter. Or maybe it's the other way around? Uh oh, I need to call an aunt or something...

  36. My parents or elders would force us to eat this vegie when were growing up. As a kid it was such an ordeal haha! Our helper would soak the sliced bitter melon with salt and water and squeeze the juice out to remove the bitterness... I think this process is done 2-3x.
    This is exactly how the dish look like as I recall.

  37. We called this bitter gourd! Frankly, not my children's favourite! hehe... I used to make omelette with this, just sliced it really thin! And I've a recipe with me which is stir fried sardine with bitter gourd. Try to check it out from my site. Well, have fun! Other than that you can make soup with it too.

  38. Hi there! They are right, to enjoy eating this veggie, it is an "acquired taste". However, I would also like to add some tips together with their suggestions:

    1. Slice it THINLY before soaking in water with salt.

    2. DON'T add salt during cooking time. SEASON it once it is cooked already.

    3.REDUCE the water/broth (in case you add some for easy cooking of the veggie).

    Hope this helps. Happy cooking! : )



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