My daughter refused to eat this dish from some time ago saying she cannot stand the bitterness of the dish. I had to beg her to taste my version since mine has the bitterness toned down. She now eats this regularly, at least once in every 2 weeks and even learned how to cook it herself!
Also, while taking a course on Herbal Medicine, she learned about the benefits of ampalaya. She comes home every now and then from the Oriental stores with a bag of ampalaya and looks forward to having this dish. She would joke "I feel life running through my veins," each time she eats this. Of course, paired with steamed white rice.
You can cook this dish with ground beef, ground pork or shrimps.
2 medium size ampalaya, thinly sliced---
(first, slice the ampalaya into half, lengthwise and remove the white pith by scraping with a spoon)
1/2 pound ground beef (or ground pork, or shrimps)
1 tomato, sliced lengthwise
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
ground black pepper for seasoning
1-2 eggs, scrambled (you can cook separately or cook in the same wok or skillet with the dish)
oil for sautéing (2-3 tablespoons depending on the fat content of your meat)
To help cut the the bitterness of the bitter melon, once thinly sliced, soak in a bowl of lukewarm water mixed with a tablespoon of salt. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, you can opt to gently squeeze with your hands the thinly sliced bitter melon while soaked in the salted water to rid of bitter taste, or directly rinse with fresh water and drain before cooking.
Using a wok or a skillet, heat oil on medium heat.
Sauté garlic and onion; cook until onion is tender.
Add tomato and cook until tender.
Add fish sauce. Mix into veggies until well incorporated.
Add beef. Make sure to break up ground beef into small bits. Cook until beef is no longer pink in color.
Add ampalaya and mix until well combined. Once mixture comes to a boil, turn heat to low and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Set dish to one side of the wok or skillet and cook the eggs--- scrambled. Once cooked, mix the scrambled eggs and the dish together.
Season with ground black pepper.
Serve the dish warm paired with fried fish or meat, with steamed white rice.