Binagoongang Ampalaya sa Gata
Several weeks ago a colleague of mine gave me some bitter gourd and I was so happy as these costs like gold in here, just a measly 2 pieces of this would cost you around NZ$15 for a fresh one and it goes lower to NZ$8.00 if no one buys it for a week. It was also in time as I was planning to this dish this week and I don’t need to buy my bitter gourd anymore. This dish I guess is not really popular as I never tried it in the Philippines before, I only tried it one here in New Zealand when we had a Filipino potluck gathering, this is one of the dish served. I am not sure if you had tried bitter gourd before but I guess this is not for everyone as this vegetable is really bitter, I never liked it when I was younger but with proper preparation I guess the bitterness becomes palatable and pleasing to the taste when combined with matching ingredients, this is one and I love it.
- 2 pcs medium sized bitter gourd, sliced
- 500g pork belly, cubed
- 3 tbsp bagoong alamang (fermented shrimps)
- 800 ml coconut milk
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup vinegar
- Generously rub bitter gourd with lots of salt then soak them in a ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup water solution for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with running water then set aside.
- In a wok add oil then brown pork pieces.
- Add garlic and onion then sauté until onions are soft.
- Add bagoong and stir until fragrant.
- Add 500ml of coconut milk and bring it to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes or until pork is tender.
- Bring the pork pieces on the side of the wok then place the bitter gourd in the centre. Do not stir then cover wok and simmer in medium high heat for 10 minutes.
- At this stage coconut milk will be oily and thick, pour the remaining coconut milk and cayenne then simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper then serve.
If you can’t find bagoong in your place you can easily order them at Amazon