Ampalaya Con Carne

Ampalaya Con Carne
Ampalaya is a bitter fruit widely grown in Asia, usually eaten as it begins to yellow. Ampalaya helps to prevent diabetes, is high in anti-oxidants and aids digestion. Here we’ll stir fry it with beef to neutralize the bitter taste of the fruit. This is one of the most popular and delicious dishes in the Philippines.


  • 1 tablespoon MSG
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large ampalaya (bittermelon/bittergourd)
  • 1 small onion, cut in half and sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoon ginger root julienned
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon of corn oil for stir-frying
  • 1 tablespoon of Asian sesame oil
  • The marinade: 1/2 pound beef loin
  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Place prepared ampalaya into a large bowl, smother with plenty of salt and pour enough water to fill above the ampalaya. Set aside to soak for 20 min.
  2. Place sliced beef into another large bowl along with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sugar, salt, MSG, cornstarch, sesame oil and garlic, mix well. Cover and marinate in fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Once ampalaya and beef are ready, heat 2 tablespoons of corn oil in a large wok over medium heat and bring to a smoking point. Then add beef strips and sauté until no longer pink (about 15 seconds). This is best done in batches. Set aside.
  4. In the same wok, heat remainder of corn oil, add garlic and ginger. Sauté until brown (about 15 seconds) then add ampalaya and sauté for 1 minute.
  5. Next, add onions, and beef. Add water, remainder MSG and soy sauce, cover and simmer on medium low heat until ampalaya is tender (about 6 minutes).
  6. Add salt, to taste. Serve hot with rice.

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