This is bitter gourd or bitter melon, ampalaya in Flipino lingo. Scientific name, Momordica Charantia . Some may not like this vegetable as the name it connotes, bitter and so, it is. While there are times I like it eaten raw, with tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt and vinegar. When I have time to cook, I cook this veggie by sautéing and adding eggs. I do not add water. It has its own juice, enough to cook it. It goes with fried fish, pork chop or simply plain veggie with rice for lunch or dinner. Ampalaya salad is best side dish for me.
Despite the not too good taste to some, this vegetable is very nutritious. It is a good source of vitamin C when eaten raw. It has lutein, good for eye disorders. It has liver cleansing properties and a lot more. Ampalaya has the ability to lower blood glucose for diabetics. It contains chemical that acts like insulin to help reduce blood sugar levels.
To stir fry, wash ampalaya properly. Slice using chopping board. If you want to lessen its bitter taste pour salt on the sliced ampalaya. Leave for about three to five minutes. Remove the juice, squeeze lightly. I actually do not pour salt on it. I like the bitter taste. Saute ampalaya in a pre-heated pan, in garlic, union and tomatoes. Beat eggs in bowl. Stir ampalaya just once, add eggs. Put ground black pepper, little sugar to taste. Do not add salt anymore as it will become too salty. Do not lower the fire as ampalaya will become soggy. It is alright if it is half cooked. Stir to mix eggs with ampalya. Do not cover the pan. Leave for two minutes to three minutes or depending how you like it cooked.
For ampalaya salad, I used combination of white vinegar and calamasi juice. Add minced or sliced garlic, sliced unions and sliced tomatoes. You may add carrots instead of tomatoes. Add ground black pepper and a little sugar to taste. When you prepare it as salad, make sure you prepare only for one meal or two meals. Like lunch and dinner. If you save some for the next day, the vinegar will cook the ampalaya. It will become soggy, loses its crispiness. There are varieties in cooking ampalaya for Filipino dishes like, ampalaya con carne, pakbet and many more. I just posted here the basic recipe, quick preparation I like on this veggie.