Guinisang Ampalaya (Sautéed Bitter Melon)

April 2, 2020

Not everyone likes ampalaya or bitter melon but I learned how to like it. 

Once upon a time I was a farmer in San Isidro, Bacolor, Pampanga and during those days, the large ampalaya was still a rarity. The old gene pool of ampalayas were so crinkly looking and small; but the new strain was lush looking and much larger.  This is more or less what we see nowadays; the genetically modified ampalaya. But there is an advantage to the genetically modified ampalaya; it’s not as bitter as it’s ancestor. Still bitter but also oh so crunchy!

Here I share with you a method of cooking this bitter melon recipe created during the time of the Coronavirus. The full recipe is after the step-by-step pictures.

Ginisang Ampalaya - 01 Blanching the bitter melon
Prepare the ampalaya by coring and slicing them to half-moons. Sprinkle salt and let stand in a bowl for 1 hour but mix every 15 minutes to let it sweat. Drain then blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Ginisang Ampalaya - 02 prepare the ingredients
Prepare garlic, onion, tomatoes, and eggs. Have them and the blanched ampalaya all ready to go before you start cooking.
After a quick saute, push everything to one side of the pan and pour the beaten eggs on to the empty space. Stir the eggs till it is a little scrambled them mix together with the rest of the sauteed ampalaya.
Ginisang Ampalaya - 04 ready to serve
Voila! It is done and ready to serve.

Guinisang Ampalaya (Sautéed Bitter Melon)

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By Marianne de Leon Serves: 4
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Here's a method to remove the bitterness from ampalaya (bitter melon) before cooking this quick saute.


  • 2 medium sized ampalaya
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic - minced
  • 1 medium sized onion - peel and slice into 8 quarter moons
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes - remove stem hole; slice in half; remove seeds and then slice into ½- inch triangles
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 whole eggs beaten with a fork


Preparing the ampalaya:


Slice off ¼-inch from the two ends of the ampalaya.


Slice the ampalaya lengthwise into two and using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds and as much of the white membrane of the vegetable.


Slice into half circles, about ¼- inch, the ampalaya.


Place the ampalaya in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle the salt all over the ampalaya.


Leave the ampalaya in the bowl for 1 hour but every 15 minutes, mix the ampalaya to evenly distribute the diluted salt.


After one hour, rinse the ampalaya and let drain.


In a medium sized saucepan, half filled with water, set it over the fire and let it boil.


When the water is boiling, place the drained ampalaya inside the water and blanch for 2 minutes, in the boiling water.


Then drain the ampalaya in a colander and set aside.

Let's cook:


In a medium sized frying pan, pour the oil and set pan over medium fire.


Place the garlic and onion in the pan a saute for about 2 minutes.


Then add the tomatoes and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.


Season with pepper.


Then add the blanched ampalaya and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.


While still in the frying pan, push the almost cooked sautéed ampalaya to one side of the pan, and then pour the beaten eggs on the empty space.


Stir the eggs with cooking spoon and then mix together with the sautéed ampalaya.


Do this for about 30 seconds and then serve.

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