Friday, October 29, 2021

Acharang Ampalaya #PickledBitterMelon

As the name entails, this kind of melon or gourd is bitter.  Why do Asian like this kind of vegetable?  Well, it's delicious when cook or prepared right and for its health benefit.  

Here's a list of Benefits of Ampalaya  according to research
  • Antiviral effects. 
  • Alleviates common cold. 
  • Treats gastrointestinal problems.   
  • Regulates blood sugar. 
  • Have Antioxidant Source
  • Prevents Free Radicals
  • Acts as Anti-Inflammatory
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Source of Calcium, Iron, and Phosphorous
  • Prevents Infection
  • Helps Losing Weight (ampalaya has lectin, a substance which obtains a non-hungry effect)
  • Promotes Digestion System
  • Treats Constipation and Diabetes
  • Lowers Cholesterol Level
  • Prevents cancer and treats tumor
  • Promotes heart and liver health
  • Treats Rheumatism, Gout, respiratory, and eye problems
  • Promotes skin health
  • Relieves Wounds and Burns
  • Treats Psoriasis
  • Promotes Hair Health

Ampalaya is not   a favorite vegetable of mine but I eat for the sake of the health benefits I listed above.
Anyway, this year, my bitter melon plant did so well and I couldn't cook them all.   I sold some of it and also gave some to friends.  Even now that it is getting cold, it is still producing fruit so I picked the young ones and decided to make an achara or pickled it.
I added some sweet chilis to eat to counter the bitter taste. You can find the recipe at the bottom.
It is so nice to grow your own vegetable, you can pick them whenever you want or need them.
I let some of it ripen so I can save seeds for next  gardening season.  
When I was a kid, my favorite part of the ampalaya is the red skin that covers the seed, it is edible and its sweet.  If you haven't try it, you should  and discover the surprise treat from  a ripe amapalaya.
Pickled Bitter Melon or Acharang Ampalaya Recipe

  • Amapalaya
  • 1 medium kohlrabi or carrots
  • 2 Italian sweet peppers
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • A handful of tobasco peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • pickling spice 
  • a piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • peppercorn kernels
  •  Gather or pick your ampalaya or you can buy it at the Asian store.  Open each of  it with knife and scrape the gut, leaving just the meat of the ampalaya.  You can use  spoon to easily remove it.  Then slice them thinly or whatever size you desire.  Soak it in water with salt for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Slice the other ingredients (onion, ginger, peppers, kohlrabi).  You can add whatever vegetable you like.  I added kohlrabi instead of carrots because I had one left from my garden.  If you like garlic, you can add some too (I'm not really a fan of bawang so I opted out.   
  • Prepare the pickling juice.  Pour the vinegar in a pot, add the sugar and stir it until it dissolve, let it boil.
  • Some prefers to blanch the ampalaya to retain its green color but since I soaked it in salt water mixture, I didn't want to fool with it.  
  • In a clean jar, arrange your vegetable and  add the bay leaves and pickling spice on top.  
  • Pour the vinegar mixture on the jar and close the lid.  Refrigerate for a week to let the vegetable absorb the pickling juice.
  • Enjoy
Okay, this is my first time  preparing ampalaya this way.  I just didn't want to waste the young ones. I gotta say, it's probably my favorite way of eating amplaya now.  It's crunchy and sweet, it's still a bit bitter but the sweetness of the juice cancels the bitterness.  I love eating achara when I am eating fish.  Give me a feedback when you decide to use this recipe through the comment below.  Thanks for reading and visiting this food blog.

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