• Common name, Type: Bittermelon, Gourd
  • Scientific name: Momoridica charantia
  • CHamoru: chotda, Atmagosu
  • Filipino: Ampalaya

Flavor profile: bitter, crunchy

Best used as: Stir-fry or soups

Key tip when cooking with bittermelon: Soak your chopped bittermelon in salted water for 10 minutes before cooking it into your dish. This will help get rid of its harsh bitterness, leaving the bittermelon with just the right amount of bitter flavor for your savory meal.


Ginisang Ampalaya (Bittermelon) With Egg

  • 2 medium ampalaya, seeded, cut into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons salt, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • In a medium bowl, add bittermelon. Season with salt and toss to coat evenly. Set aside for at least 10 minutes or until the ampalaya pieces weep or water has collected on the bottom of the bowl. Drain and then rinse the bittermelon well. Set aside. 
  • In a wok over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and then garlic, and saute until just softened. Add tomatoes, and cook until just softened. Add bittermelon, and toss to mix. 
  • Pour in water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until almost all the water has evaporated and the bittermelon has become more tender but still crisp. Push the bittermelonmix to one side of the wok. 
  • On the other side of the bittermelon, pour in beaten eggs. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook just until the eggs are just set on the bottom before stirring and scrambling the eggs. Toss eggs and ampalaya mix together, and season with salt and pepper. Serve while hot. 


Pickled Bitter Melon

adapted from a recipe by The Weekly Pickle

Makes 2 pints

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar (rice, white or apple cider)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 – 2 tsp local red pepper per pint (to taste)
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger per pint
  • 2-3 medium-sized bitter melons


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