Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging # 96: AMPALAYA (Momordica Charantia)

It's Weekend Herb Blogging once again by Kalyn's Kitchen. The host for this week is Zorra of Kochtopf. Last week I blogged about Moringa, one of the nutritious leaves we have in the planet. This week, I am featuring its nutritious kin Ampalaya, scientifically known as Momordica Charantia and Bitter Melon in English. Ampalaya is a widely cultivated plant in the Philippines. It's getting more and more popular nowadays due to its invaluable health benefits. In actual fact, a number of researches have proven Ampalaya’s ability to increase the production of “beta cells” by the pancreas. This leads to the body’s improved production of insulin. In this way, Ampalaya became most notable for its effectiveness to combat diabetes. We are proud that the Philippine variety is considered as the most potent. Thus, the Department of Health of the Philippines (DOH) endorsed it as one of the best herbal medicines for liver problems and diabetes.
In the Philippines, taste preference is very extreme. Looking at the types of foods available either home cooked, restaurant or commercially made, Filipinos generally want something salty, sour and sweet. Undoubtedly, the latter is considered the most well liked taste driver for many Filipino foods. As a consequence, it’s not surprising that there are about 3 million Filipinos now estimated by DOH as diabetic. To a greater extent people are looking for remedies against this disease and ampalaya surely topped the list.


However, due to the vegetable’s inherent “bitter” taste its consumption is very selective. In truth, this was one of my unwanted vegetables when I was a kid until I went to school and learned about the food pyramid in greater details. Now that I am a mom and a home maker, I am aware of my responsibility for my family’s health and wellness. I have to ensure our menu plan will not only satisfy our taste buds but more importantly it shall meet the family’s nutritional requirements. Thus far, even still at their toddler years I am starting to encourage my kids to eat vegetables. Ampalaya, apart from being known for the treatment of diabetes is also a good source of other essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus. It is for these nutrional rewards that this simple dish usually frequents our dining table.
Stir-fried Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 large Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) fruit, chopped in thin diagonals, soaked in salt for a few minutes and squeezed a little (to lessen the bitter note) then washed with water
  • 1/4 kg ground lean pork
  • 1 med sized onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

1. Heat canola oil in a pan. Saute onion, garlic, tomatoes and pork until done.
2. Add Ampalaya and saute for a few minutes (until tender).
3. Add soy sauce, season with salt and pepper.
4. Add beaten eggs and continue stir-frying for 5 mins or until the vegetable is cooked.

* It's best served with any fried fish.

3 comments:

zorra said...

I have never seen this before. I need to watch out, if I can get it here, too.

Sherra said...

Congratulations! Zorra for a good wrap up! Thanks for including my entry.

Cheers to more WHB!

Kalyn said...

I haven't tasted bitter melon, and I would like to try it. I've read mixed reviews on the taste for sure! But it does sound like it's very nutritious, and I do like some bitter foods like Kalamata olives, so maybe I would like it.