Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ampalaya at last


For the past weeks my body was signaling that I had been indulging in too rich food. The sign? I was craving for bitter melons. I don't know why, but after having rich and greasy food day after day after day, I would always want to eat bitter melons. This stemmed from our belief that eating something bitter will help purge the system of any impurities. Problem was, bitter melons are not common in the area where we live. So it's been weeks since I started craving for this bitter veggie. Last week I was so desperate that I asked David if we could check that Asian food supermarket in Petone, some thirty minutes drive from our place to see if they had any. The store did carry it, albeit frozen and the label was marked, 'product of Vietnam". Oh well, ampalaya from anywhere else in the world will be just as bitter and good. I was happy to bring home a packet of three pieces, cleaned and pitted.

I decided I would do 'relyenong ampalaya' since it's been ages since I last had this dish. So I stuffed two of them with cooked minced meat, rolled them in batter then shallow fried them. With ketchup and steaming white rice with, I had a feast! David did not like bitter melons so I had them all for myself.











Here's how to do relyenong ampalaya if you are interested:

Ingredients:

2 -3 pieces ampalaya cut in half or quarter (depending on the length of your ampalaya)
batter (1 egg, 1 cup of flour, water)
Oil for frying
Ketchup

Filling:
1 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/4 kg minced pork
1/4 kg (or less) shrimps, shelled, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp raisins
salt and pepper to taste
1 small carrot shredded (optional)
2 tbsp of chives chopped


Boil the ampalaya pieces until half-cooked. Do not overboil as this will make them soggy.

Meanwhile, heat oil in wok and sautee garlic and onion. Add the minced pork. Add shrimps. Stir and make sure pork is no longer pink. Add carrots and raisins. Add chives just before removing from heat.

Dry the ampalaya and stuff them with the cooked filling. Coat them with batter then shallow fry them. Just before serving, cut each piece into 1 inch slices then serve with ketchup.

Just remember when seasoning whatever you're cooking, go by your taste. Adjust any ingredient or alter if you must to suit your taste.