Tortang Ampalaya with Mashed Squash

1/4 kilo ampalaya, sliced
1/2 cup mashed squash
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 bulb onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 beaten eggs
salt and ground pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Wash and clean ampalaya. Saute garlic and onion until golden brown. Add tomato and salt and pepper to taste. Stir ocassionally. Mix ampalaya and mashed squash. Cover the pan and heat for two minutes. Add beaten egg, wait until it curds. Serve hot.

torta kalabasa ampalaya

How to Make Ampalaya Pickles


Pickle amplaya in attempt to remove bitterness. So many love sweets but only a small part of the population like eating bitter. Make the amplaya sweet, a bit sour, a bit salty and less bitter or not bitter at all. Make ampalaya pickles.

It’s not like I am encouraging anyone to make ampalaya pickles. It can be done if wanted badly by those who cannot endure its native taste.

1) Get green ampalaya. The darker the bitter. Get light colored for less bitterness. Wash. Cut both ends. Slice to four or more parts. Scrape off the seeds and pulp carefully using a sleek sharp knife. Slice again, about 5 mm thick.


I want ampalaya circles. It looks cool to me! Slice the way you want it.

2) Weigh. Place in a large food container. Add two tablespoon salt per 200 grams ampalaya slices. Close the container. Tumble gently several times and let stand for about one hour.

ampalaya rings and salt

Mixing salt with slices forces the water out. This includes the bitter momordicine and other important nutrients and insulin-like substance polypeptide-P.

3) Open the container, drain off extracted liquid. Rinse several times to remove excess salt crystals.

4) Arrange neatly the slices in glass jar. Add 10% brine solution. Ferment for three weeks at room temperature.

ampalaya rings in bottle

Microflora naturally present ferments the vegetable. It creates new flavors, destroys the bitter momordicine and might as well degrade other compounds and reduce the original efficacy.

5) Drain the brine solution. Rinse in several changes of ice cold water to remove saltiness. Add pickling solution – 30 percent sugar and 10 percent vinegar plus spices of choice.

Amplaya in its pure unprocessed form is best. I am hearing rumors about diabetic patients feasting on it raw.  It is sure extremely bitter at first. Start training your senses today and sure you’ll slowly perceived bitter as delectable.

Ginisang Tahong With Ampalaya Shoots, Talbos

This tahong dish looks really yummy! Might not be true if you’re a bitter hater. The enticing leaves you see are bitter ampalaya shoots, talbos. The taste is even bitter than ampalaya fruits.

ginisang tahong and talbos ng ampalaya

Ampalaya, bitter gourd, is a vine plant. It need support for its growth. Farmers build a horizontal treillage (balag) to provide sturdy support. The height is about six feet and may vary depending on farmer’s height. My father is rather short so he tend to build a lower balag.

Not all ampalaya shoots are harvested for sale. In fact, bitter gourd is grown for its fruits, not for its shoots.  All ampalaya leaves from stem base and before it reaches the balag are removed. I never know what is the purpose. Shoots grow about 12 inches above the ground and before it reaches the balag. Those shoots are harvested and sold. A farmer can only harvest large quantity of talbos ng ampalaya if he has a wide plantation area.

Now lets deal with the yummy bitter dish.

Gather all the ingredients:

1/2 kilogram tahong, be sure there is no RED TIDE SCARE before buying
2 gloves garlic, minced
3 onion bulbs, sliced
one thumb size ginger, sliced
3 tomatoes, crunchy ripe, sliced
1/4 kilogram talbos ng ampalaya
1 cup water
vegetable oil

Follow the cooking procedures:

1) Wash tahong thoroughly. Removed all adhering dirt with a sharp knife. According to my neighbors, mussel storage even in refrigerator and freezer is not recommended. Rinse other veggie ingredients in running water.

2) Saute onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes for fifteen minutes over low flame. A regular fast saute can be done alternatively.

3) Add tahong and water and bring to boil for five minutes.

4) Add patis (fish sauce) to taste.

5) Drop ampalaya shoots. Continue boiling for 30 seconds and remove from flame immediately.

Uses and Benefits of Ampalaya Seeds

The ultimate use of ampalaya seed is for propagation. Propagators need to secure good quality seeds for the next planting season. It can be bought from seed companies to ensure the breed purity. However, an excess seeds can be use for other purposes.seeds

Uses and Health Benefits:

1) Crevost and Petelot stated that the seeds with oil can be employed as a cosmetic.

2) Dalziel reports that the root is sometimes used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac prescriptions and, along with the fruit or seeds, is also used as an abortifacient, as well as a remedy for urethral discharges.

Warning!: Abortifacient – a drug (or other chemical agent) that causes abortion. Pregnant women should never take it.

3) Perrot and Hurrier mention that in Indo-China the seeds are employed with success in dysentery – an infection of the intestines marked by severe diarrhea.

4) Stuart reports that the seeds benefit the breath and invigorate the male principle.

5) Dalziel quotes Freise [Aoth, Zeit. 44 (1929) 1480], who says that the seeds are used in Brazil as an anthelmintic. Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk state that the anthelmintic action of the seeds is to reside in the embryo. Anthelmintic – a medication capable of causing the evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms.

6) Can be used as purgative. The seeds yield 32 per cent of purgative oil. Purgative – a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels.

7) According to Yumiko Yasui ampalaya seeds has linolenic acid that can  kill color cancer.

8) The seed also contain Polypeptide-p, a plant insulin that helps diabetic patients.

9) For production of coffee and polvoron.

items 1-6 are compiled by bureau of plant and industry

Sauteed Munggo with Ampalaya Leaves and Pork Fat

ginisang munggo with amplaya leaves

1 cup green munggo
2 cups ampalaya leaves, stalks removed
1/2 cup pork fat, small cubes
2 onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste

1) Wash munggo seeds and soak it in water for 2 hours or until swollen and soft. Drain and set aside.
2) Heat pork gently in a pan until some oil comes out. The oil will be used to saute the onions and garlic.
3) Saute onions and garlic in pork oil. Make a slow saute over a low heat until the onions are soft.
4) Add the swollen munggo. Fill with enough water just to soaked up the seeds.
5) Bring to boil for 15 minutes. Mix salt to taste.
6) Add ampalaya leaves and boil for another 1 minute.
7) Serve.

ginisang munggo with amplaya leaves

The 12 Health Benefits of Ampalaya Leaves (Shoots)

ampalaya leaves and shoots

My father is growing ampalaya vine. He usually gather the young shoots – only those that grow near the plant base. Young ampalaya leaves are popular as vegetable dish ingredients. It’s more than just leaves, anyone can get more benefits out of these bitter commodity.

If we dig dipper down to plant anatomy, all the growing shoots before reaching the trellis (balag) are not necessary for good ampalaya fruit production. They are not getting enough sunlight and depends on other leaves that have more than enough. Those can be freely removed and should be…

1) The decoction of the leaves is used as a stomachic – relating to stomach problems e.g.diarrhea. The recommended intake is one teaspoon of ground ampalaya leaves three times a day.

ampalaya leaves and shoots

2) The leaves is used as antipyretic – medicine that lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever

3) The whole plant, pulverized, is a good when externally applied in leprosy and malignant ulcers. Malignant – dangerous to health; characterized by progressive and uncontrolled growth.

4) The leaves are pound and apply to certain skin diseases. Can also be applied to burns and scalds.

5) Applied as a poultice for headaches. Poultice – a medical dressing consisting of a soft heated mass of meal or clay that is spread on a cloth and applied to the skin to treat inflamed areas or improve circulation. Pantapal from albularyo vocabulary.

6) Watt says that an infusion of the leaves acts as a febrifuge – lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever.

7) The leaves are administered as an anthelmintic – capable of expelling or destroying parasitic worms.

8) The juice of the fresh leaves acts as a mild purgative – stimulates evacuation of the bowels – for children.

10) Aids in treatment of diabetes. As researched and published by Dr. William Torres, amplaya contains polypeptide-P, an insulin like substance present only in this bitter plant.

11) Boiled leaves and a decoction of the plant itself is recommended to promote lochiae. Lochiae (lochia) substance discharged from the vagina (cellular debris and mucus and blood) that gradually decreases in amount during the weeks following childbirth.

12) The sweetened decoction of the leaves is considered a powerful emmenagogue (promotes menstrual discharge), and an effective vermifuge (causing the evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms). : Edited as of December 4, 2014.  Please let me know if you have found other useful information to add… Thanks!