Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bitter Gourd Saute with Scrambled Eggs

I have a quick and easy non-meat recipe for you today. Be warned however, this is not for the faint of heart.  While familiar to Asians, this vegetable/fruit is not something you'll regularly find in your local Shoprite.  I give you, the Ampalaya (bitter gourd/ bitter melon).

As a child, I used to dread the warty-looking vegetable/fruit that lurked in a Pinakbet, a local dish of sauteed eggplant, okra, squash, and green snake beans with shrimp paste.  Tasting just as it sounds, the gourd's extremely bitter taste would send me sputtering in to the sink, trying to wash the taste out of my mouth.

As an adult, I've acquired a taste for it.  I've since learned how to prepare it so the bitter taste doesn't overpower everything.  Also, bitter gourd is said to help lower blood sugar levels and alleviate stomach and kidney ailments.

Over the weekend, my uncle gifted me with a couple bitter gourds from his home vegetable patch.  Yay for home gardens! I couldn't wait to get home to make dinner with them.

Bitter Gourd Saute with Scrambled Eggs

1 whole bitter gourd, prepared as provided below
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 cups water, separated in to two cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
4-5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 eggs, scrambled as desired
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. To prepare bitter gourd, cut off both ends, then slice the gourd through, lengthwise.  With a spoon, scrape out the white pith and seeds and discard.  Slice the gourd across into thin slices. 
  2. Place the sliced gourd into a non-reactive bowl, and generously sprinkle the salt over the gourd slices, then pour in the first cup of water.  Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the water, then add the second cup and soak for another 10 to 15 minutes. Drain again.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes until soft.
  5. Add the gourd on top of saute mixture, but do not stir.  Add chicken broth and lower heat to medium. Cook covered for about 10 minutes.  The bitter gourd will be soft when cooked.
  6. Toss the items in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss again.
  7. Transfer cooked vegetables onto a serving platter and top with the scrambled eggs.
  8. Serve immediately with steamed rice. 
Cooking Tips:
  1. Use the soaking time in Steps 2 and 3 to prepare the other items in the recipe, like chopping the other vegetables or making the scrambled the eggs, or steaming the rice. Soaking the sliced gourd helps to draw out the bitter taste.  
  2. Not stirring the gourd in the pan, helps to keep the remaining bitterness from overpowering the whole dish. 
  3. The younger the bitter gourd, the less bitter it is.
I dare my non-Asian friends to try this. Let me know how you make out.

1 comment:

  1. Alas, Mieke, I am far too lazy to put a gourd through two changes of salt water. ;-)


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