Ampalaya is my favorite vegetable. Many people don’t like it because it is bitter (it is after all called “bitter melon” in another language), but I love it exactly because it is bitter. I also love it because when cooked right, it is very crunchy. The past weeks I’ve been eating ampalaya around three to four times a week but there is only 1 ampalaya dish that I know how to make. It’s a really easy dish that my parents used to serve us when we were kids. This dish is really one of the many dishes that I associate with happy, carefree childhood days.
I don’t know how the dish is called or if it even has a name, but it’s really easy to prepare (it’s easy if I can prepare it). It involves slicing the ampalaya and taking out its seeds (I haven’t eaten ampalaya seeds before so I don’t know how it tastes. In the mean time, just take them out because that’s how my mother does it.), sauteing some onions and garlic and tomatoes and adding the ampalaya. I then cook the ampalaya until it reaches a “withered” look. Then I add beaten eggs, and some “uyap” (local shrimp paste). I don’t see the need to season it with salt, especially because the paste shrimp is already salty. Wait until the eggs are cooked, and it’s ready to serve. Of course, I eat this with rice. Heaps of rice.
Liking ampalaya, I think is, like getting an acquired taste. Ampalaya has many good benefits for our body. Recent research showed that ampalaya is an alternative medicine for liver problems, diabetes and a long list of body ailments and diseases. Ampalaya is also a rich source Vitamin B, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and beta carotene.