The Flaming Vegan

A Vegan and Vegetarian Blogging Extravaganza

Meet The "Ampalaya" or Bitter Gourd
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Meet The "Ampalaya" or Bitter Gourd

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

A child watches Spongebob Squarepants as his mother cooks dinner. The kid hears the thumping of steel against the wooden chopping board. Thump! Thump! Thump! Occasionally, the thumping is replaced by a crack, not quite like an egg crack, but more like the pressure of dull steel being applied on something tough but juicy. 

He can hear the potent and pungent juices being squeezed out.

"Squiiickhed! Squiiickhed!"

After a while, the all too familiar smell of roasting garlic fills the air, his stomach begins to grumble, marveling at the power of garlic to appeal to the olfactory nerves. Then the onions, sweet in a strong and different way, blends with that of the garlic. Before long, the sweet aroma of tomatoes wafts through the air. 

The divine chemistry of it all simply astounds.

The kid looks up from the couch and screams, "Mom! What's for dinner?"

She wipes the strand of sweat lining her eyebrows and yells back, "Ginisang Ampalaya!"

The kid's heart sinks as he goes back to turning his attention to Squidward and Patrick the Starfish. But the story does not end here!


  • 2 to 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic (Chop into really small pieces, my wife said "mince" it)
  • 1 onion bulb (Sliced into rings or minced, whatever makes you happy!
  • 3 to 4 medium sized tomatoes (Diced)
  • 2 or 3 medium sized bitter gourds or Ampalaya (Slice the bitter gourd into half, remove the soft white middle part, then either slice it into very thin rings or strips.)
  • Salt to taste

Choice of Sauces

  • Some debate is going on about "Oyster Sauce" being "Vegan compliant"
  • If you want to be absolutely sure, use soy sauce instead
  • Feel free to experiment with sauces!


  • Pre-heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan
  • Put the garlic and fry them for about 30 seconds
  • Put the onions and wait 30 seconds again
  • Then add the tomatoes
  • Wait for a minute then add the strips or rings of bitter gourd
  • Mix for 5 to 10 minutes
  • You will see the bitter gourd become shiny green and soft
  • Add your sauce (Can be oyster or soy or whatever you like)
  • Mix for 2 to 5 minutes - 
  • Add salt or sugar to taste
  • Do not overcook - you will see the bitter gourds becoming limp if you have overdone it

Best served with fried rice :)

Time to eat! 

The child, though slightly downbeat at the prospect of eating vegetables for dinner, then looks and finds a unique blend of green, orange together with brown sauce on the table. At first recalcitrant, since he finds the smell irresistible he tries one itsy bitsy morsel. He finds it sweet, but tolerable, being that the bitter gourd is something that could be described as having the qualities of an acquired taste. Eventually his hunger yields and eats it piece by piece.

A very healthy dinner that has been known to possess many medicinal qualities.

We had that for dinner last night! 



Creative commons image via Flickr 

More about sauce, oyster, ampalaya, gourd, bitter
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  1. Julie Sinclair
    Julie Sinclair
    This looks simply amazing. I understand why you have called this fruit sponge Bob and this has made me sit here laughing out loud. Very nice recipe and very interesting. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story and way of life.
    1. Daniel Garcia
      Daniel Garcia
      Hello Julie, thanks for voting. Hahaha, I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Give the bitter gourd a try, it may be a tad bitter but, with the right mixture, it is superb. :)
  2. Julie Davis
    How different never heard of this before
    1. Daniel Garcia
      Daniel Garcia
      Try it, Julie, if you have some bitter gourd, I'd love to see you post the result :) Thank you!


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