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Crunchy Sautéed Ampalaya

Bitter gourd or ampalaya is not exactly everyone’s favorite; and, of course, the bitterness of this vegetable is always the main issue. For those who do love ampalaya, however – and it has documented medicinal properties – here is a simple dish that can be done on the fly. Preparation and cooking may take as little as twenty minutes; thirty at the most.


1 long slice liempo (pork belly), cut into small pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 small tomatoes, sliced into small pieces
2 ampalaya (bitter gourd), halved and slice into small half-rings
2-3 spoonfuls bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)


1. Boil liempo in half a cup of water in a large wok until the water fully evaporates. Once the water has evaporated, keep stirring until the lard has been drawn out and the pork has become golden brown and crispy. Set to one side of the wok.
2. Sauté first the garlic in the lard until golden then add the onions.
3. Stir onions for a minute or two; then add the tomatoes. Stir for another minute or two.
4. Add the fish paste keep stirring to blend everything.
5. Add the bitter gourd and stir to blend. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat

Makes 3-4 servings.

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