A Filipino Favorite
A Purely Vegetarian Dish
Bitter Melon are popular in Philippines cuisine, where they are commonly known by their local name Ampalaya.
Here’s a recipe for a salad based on Bitter Melon that’s very good when chilled overnight. It’s purely vegetarian, and comes from an acquaintance who hails from the island of Pampanga, where this is a typical preparation.
The salad serves about 4 people, depending on what other dishes are served.The nice, clean taste of the Ampalaya would go well in a meal with Kare-Kare, for instance.
This salad takes about 20 – 30 minutes for the preparation time, about 10 minutes for cooking and of course is chilled overnight.
Bitter Melon Salad
½ cup of Rice Vinegar or Coconut Palm Vinegar
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 small finger fresh Ginger Root, about 1½ inches long, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 medium Spanish Onion
1 Eggplant, unpeeled, about 1 pound
1 Bitter Melon (Ampalaya), unpeeled
1 sweet Red Pepper
First, peel the finger of Ginger and slice into thin strips.
Cut the Spanish Onion in fine julienne.
Wash the Eggplant and, leaving it unpeeled, cut it into strips about 1 inch by 2 inches long.
Leave the Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) unpeeled, and cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then cut it into strips about 1 inch by 2 inches.
Wash the Red Pepper, cut it open and discard the seeds, then slice the Pepper crosswise into thin rings.
Next, when all the cutting preparation is done, mix the Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Ginger and Onion in a saucepan. Let it simmer about 5 minutes or until the Sugar dissolves. Don’t stir it.
Finally, drop the Eggplant and Ampalaya strips and Red Pepper rings into the liquid mixture. Cover it and simmer again for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then put into the refrigerator and chill overnight.