Beef with Bitter Gourd (Beef with Ampalaya)

genphotohiresThe Philippine Star front page photo in today’s issue highlighted activist of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Three women painted their bodies green and posed for an advocacy to go vegetarian during the animal rights campaign activity.

Going green is becoming a popular and wise choice for many individuals and families. Vegetarianism is following a diet that is excluding animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, and honey, from the diet. Being vegetarian has several categories though, like for vegan – they only eat food from plant sources; lacto-vegetarian eats dairy product but no to eggs and meats; lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy and eggs products and no meat; lastly, ovo-vegetarian eats eggs and no to meats.

I am not a vegetarian… yet. But I am an advocate for a healthy and nutritious diet – a well provided variety of food which would include all the food groups with a right combination to meet my family’s needs and mine.

So today, I wanted to Go Green, partly green, I should say, with  Beef with Bitter Gourd / Beef Ampalaya. Bitter Gourd (Bitter Melon) or Ampalaya in local term is one of the most loved and hated vegetables.

beef ampalayaIt is one of the most loved because of its medical therapeutic claims to treat diabetes, liver problems, skin diseases and many more.  It is also one of the most hated because of its bitter taste.  But there are several ways to minimize the bitterness. One can rub a handful salt and squeeze the sliced bitter gourds to remove the bitter juice, but I do not recommend this if you are also after its medicinal benefits because squeezing out the juice also eliminates most of the nutrients. Another way to partially eliminate the bitter taste is to boil with water and drain. This process is repeated a few times. This also eliminates most of its nutrients and medicinal benefits. So if you are a health buff I suggest cooking it as it is.  The taste is acquired after a while I wanted my bitter gourds cooked after slicing, no squeezing out of its nutrients. Slice the bitter gourds into halves; remove seeds by using the thumb to scrape off from end to end the foamy white part that encapsulates the seeds, then slice each half thin crosswise.

1/2 kilo sliced bitter gourd/ampalaya
1/4 kilo lean ground beef
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Heat oil in a cooking pan. Sautee garlic, onion and beef until beef turns brown. Add sliced bitter gourd, sugar, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Cook for 5 minutes. Add water and salt to taste. Then cook for another 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.

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