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Page added on July 28, 2013

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Kuya Bong’s Kusina

by F. V. Decena

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. It is commonly grown and cultivated throughout the Philippines although wild forms can be found and it is also abundant in many regions in Asia, East Africa, the Carribean and South America and comes in a variety of shape and sizes. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya’s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin.

Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya’s medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium. Ampalaya is also rich in antioxidants that protect the cells of the body from damage of free radicals (metabolic by-products, usually waste).

The effectiveness of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.

Herbal Benefits of Ampalaya:

• Good for rheumatism and gout

• And diseases of the spleen and liver

• Aids in lowering blood sugar levels

• Helps in lowering blood pressure

• Relives headaches

• Disinfects and heals wounds & burns

• Can be used as a cough & fever remedy

• Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea

• Helps prevent some types of cancer

• Enhances immune system to fight infection

• For treatment of hemorrhoids

• Is an antioxidant and parasiticide

•Is antibacterial and antipyretic

Ginisang Ampalaya Recipe


  • 2 pieces ampalaya, cleaned and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 raw eggs
  • 18 ounces luke warm water
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

Cooking Procedure

  1. Place the ampalaya in a large bowl
  2. Add salt and luke warm water then leave for 5 minutes
  3. Place the ampalaya in a cheese cloth then squeeze tightly until all liquid drips
  4. Heat the pan and place the cooking oil
  5. Sautee the garlic, onion, and tomato
  6. Add the ampalaya mix well with the other ingredients
  7. Put-in salt and pepper to taste
  8. Beat the eggs and pour over the ampalaya then let the eggs cook partially
  9. Mix the egg with the other ingredients
  10. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Number of servings (yield): 4

Ampalaya Salad Recipe


  • 1 medium bitter gourd (ampalaya), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium Roma tomato, diced and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for rubbing)
  • Extra salt to taste

Cooking Procedure

  1. Rub the salt all over the sliced bitter gourd. Let it stay for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the salt by quickly washing the gourd with running water. Drain the excess liquid.
  3. Combine vinegar, ground black pepper, sugar, and extra salt (if needed) in a bowl. Stir.
  4. Put-in the bitter gourd, onion, and tomato in a bowl. Mix well.
  5. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and then refrigerate for about 3 hours.
  6. Serve as a side dish for fried fish.
  7. Share and enjoy!

Number of servings (yield): 3

Dinengdeng Recipe


  • 1 whole milk fish, sliced and grilled
  • 2 to 3 cups malunggay (moringa) leaves, cleaned
  • 2 cups squash flower
  • 12 to 15 pieces small to medium sized okra
  • 1 bundle string beans, sliced into 3 inch pieces
  • 2 pieces medium ampalaya (bitter gourd), cored and sliced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bagoong isda (unprocessed fish sauce)
  • 1 knob ginger, sliced
  • 2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups water

Cooking Procedure

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large cooking pot.
  2. Add the ginger, onion, and tomato. Cook covered for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour-in the bagoong isda. Stir.
  4. Add okra and string beans. Stir and add the ampalaya. Cook in medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Put-in the squash flower and malunggay leaves. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the grilled milk fish. Let it stay for 3 to 5 minutes to add flavor to the dish.
  7. Serve. Share and enjoy!


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