Ampalaya or bitter melon is available and sold all year round in markets in the Philippines but many may still be unfamiliar with it here in the US. The wrinkled look and bitter flavor of this vegetable may not appeal to those who may find it too exotic for their taste. However, in the Philippines we grew up eating ampalaya often served as a simple vegetable side dish. As much as many Filipino families would like the kids to eat ampalaya for it's known health benefits, I'm not surprised that it will never be a kid favorite. My nephew's four year old son is an exception. I'm amazed to find out that he loves ampalaya and doesn't have a problem eating it. But then again, I heard he doesn't have a problem eating all kinds of vegetables :-) so this just makes us proud of him. During the summer months, I always look forward to the many varieties of vegetables that are sold at the Filipino store. Ampalaya cooked with egg is just one of the more popular ways to serve it. It's important to scrape the bitter white pulp and seeds very well to remove as much of it as possible. Some swear by soaking the sliced ampalaya in brine solution for a few minutes then using a cheesecloth to squeeze them in order to get rid of the bitterness. I just scraped them very well then rinsed them under running water before thinly slicing. Sautee the ampalaya slices with minced garlic, sliced onions and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. For the last step, make room in the center of the skillet and pour in the beaten eggs. Allow the egg to set for a few minutes before turning and tossing with the cooked ampalaya.
|Scraping the ampalaya to get rid of all the white pulp and seeds is an important step before thinly slicing.|