Amplaya (or Bitter Gourd) is one of my favorite vegetables. When I lived in Manila, my mom and I used to cook this every week. This dish was usually a Saturday treat for me.

Now that I’m married and cooking for our meals at home, I cook this in bulk once every fortnight which usually equals to 3 servings. I keep the other two servings in containers, put them in the fridge and we eat them in the next coming days as a siding to any meat or fish dish during dinner.

I’m grateful that my Husband generally eats vegetables. Although he eats Ampalaya, it is not his favorite vegetable which I understand. As we all know, Ampalaya is not a loveable vegetable because of its bitter taste. However, I was able to find a way to make it more likeable to my Husband’s taste buds—by adding in a few teaspoons of honey. Yes, honey makes it a little more sweeter. And according to my Husband, it is healthier than adding sugar (which I used to do).

Other ways to make Ginisang Ampalaya a little less bitter and boring:
(1) Before cooking, soak in water with salt for 10-20 minutes and squeeze some of its juice out. Some people don’t squeeze it anymore but I squeeze it at least once coz it does lessen the bitterness a bit.

(2) Add egg. When I was a kid, my mom used to add egg and it made it bearable for me.

(3) Add tofu or shrimp instead of pork. My Husband loves it too when I add tofu, so once in a while I saute the ampalaya with tofu.

(4) Use other seasonings like soy sauce, fish sauce or a teaspoon of shrimp paste (bagoong). One of these days, I will try using herbs to give it some other flavor and aroma.

(5) If you don’t have honey, you can use sugar as a substitute.

As for me, my favorite kind of Ginisang Ampalaya is one that has Okra. I know Okra is another vegetable that not so many people like, but I really really like Okra and I usually add it whenever I saute any vegetables. I don’t mind the taste of these two vegetables whenever I eat them. I love them because of their healthy benefits and I focus more on the good nutrients they give to our body.

What about you? How do you like your Ampalaya?


  1. xingkit

    would you believe me if i tell you that i only started eating ampalaya last year?

    when my mother-in-love learned that i don’t eat the vege, she started preparing it and i had no choice but to eat. πŸ™‚

    so yes, i eat it with eggs, or with beef.

  2. Ibyang

    hi xingkit! yes, i believe you. a lot of people don’t eat this and i can understand why not. good for you, you were able to eat it. the healthy benefits of this vegetable is so worth it. πŸ™‚

  3. anj

    i used to hate ampalaya! but i knew how healthy it was so i tried to eat it little by little whenever the cook makes the dish. happy to say that i have been putting more and more of it on my dish. yey!

    like it with egg. yum!

    would you know if there is there any ampalaya dish with gata? just curious.

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