The humble ampalaya is shunned for its bitter taste, which is a shame—intense bitterness can be avoided by picking one of the right size and soaking it, and this is definitely worth it as ampalaya has so many health benefits. From fighting cancer to diabetes, boosting your immune system and improving your hair, skin and nails, ampalaya is truly a wonder and should be in every Filipino kitchen.
If you’re trying to find a tasty way to enjoy this vegetable, this delicious recipe includes pork tenderloin marinated in soy sauce and well-browned, then served in a rich oyster sauce. This preparation is sure to minimize the bitterness and provide the perfect mouthful to go with a hot cup of rice. You may find yourself so taken with this simple recipe, which can convert even those who dislike ampalaya intensely. You can also substitute the pork with beef tenderloin if you want something a bit heavier.
- 1 medium size pork tenderloin, about ½ kilo, sliced into strips
- 1 medium to large size ampalaya, split in halves de-seeded, sliced crosswise
- 1 small size onion, peeled, chopped
- ½ head garlic, peeled, crushed, chopped
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp. ground peppercorns
- cooking oil
- Marinate pork strips in soy sauce, half of the cornstarch and a dash of salt and pepper for 10 to 15 minutes. In a wok, heat cooking oil and stir fry the pork in batches until color changes to brown and start to sizzle, set aside.
- Using the same wok sauté garlic and onion until fragrant.
- Add in the ampalaya and stir cook for 1 to 2 minutes then add in ½ to 1 cup of water. Continue to cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until the ampalaya is just cooked.
- Add in the pork and oyster sauce and stir cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Thicken sauce with the remaining cornstarch diluted in ¼ cup of water, cook for another half a minute until sauce thickens. Correct saltines if required.
- Serve hot with a lot of rice.