Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ampalaya Con Carne

How I taught my kids eat ampalaya (bitter gourd)

I love veggies! I was in grade school when I first learned the nutrients and vitamins we can get from them and I grew up benefiting from them. As a mom, Id like to share to my children the benefits vegetables give us to make us healthy. The kind that most children hate is the Ampalaya (bitter gourd/bitter melon) because of its bitter taste. I haven’t heard a single story from my friends that any of their kids appreciate ampalaya.

I have known thru my readings that ampalaya is a good source of vitamins A,B,C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium. I have seen a loved one taking ampalaya capsule to control blood sugar because she said it helps the pancreas to produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. I came across with some materials explaining that it helps alleviate some illnesses and now being used as herbal medicine which is good for rheumatism and gout, enhances immune system to fight infections to name a few. I had a sumptuous meal of fried fish with Monggo and ampalaya leaves. My brother has something to say about ampalaya leaves; had them juiced and been very good anti oxidant and has excellent purgative effect.

The challenge of having my children indulge themselves into healthier ventures, I encouraged them to eat ampalaya and I gradually introduced to them its taste thru Ampalaya con carne. They said its not savory at all because of its bitter taste, so I thought of lessening the bitter taste in the first serving and gradually increasing it as we go along and it worked. Now, ampalaya is a welcome dish in our dining table with so much gusto. Here is how I do it, this is a simple recipe which I think is enriched by ampalaya and tomato sauce, simple yet it served a grand purpose:

Ampalaya con Carne

½ kilo pork casim lengthwise 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches
1 medium size ampalaya (bitter gourd) cut length wise, seeds scrapped) sliced crosswise
( to lessen the bitter taste, sprinkle with salt, mash a bit then wash with a little water, sprinkle with salt again and leave for 5 minutes, wash and ready for cooking, the salt will put out a bit of the bitter taste)
1 medium size onion sliced
1 tsp. garlic minced
1 cup tomato sauce
dash of black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. tausi (salted black beans)
2 cups water
Vegetable oil

1. Saute garlic and onion
2. Add the pork, cover let it change it color to pale white
3. Add dash of black pepper
4. Add tomato sauce and tausi, mix let stand for a minute then
5. Add 2 cups of water and let it simmer till the pork is tender
6. Add ampalaya and let simmer for 5 minutes or till the ampalaya is cooked but still crunchy, don’t over cooked it.

 Now, it is ready for a healthy and sumptuous meal.

My son has a delight for something Italian and his taste bud is discriminating, but he found this simple dish very promising and palatable, I can say that I had them appreciate ampalaya and taught them to eat and love nutritious vegetable that most people hate. Most times I didn’t mash the ampalaya with salt just had them sprinkled with salt since they didn’t notice the bitter taste been intensifying since they are used to eating it anyway.