Ampalaya with Eggs Recipe - Vegetarian Filipino Dish

Ampalaya with Eggs

Ampalaya with Eggs Recipe - Vegetarian Filipino Dish
Region / culture: Philippines | Preparation time: 2 hours | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Ampalaya with Eggs
Ampalaya with Eggs

Ampalaya with Eggs is a classic Filipino dish that combines the unique, bitter flavor of ampalaya, also known as bitter melon or bitter gourd, with the rich, comforting taste of scrambled eggs. This dish is a staple in Filipino cuisine, known for its health benefits and its ability to turn the bitterness of ampalaya into a delicious, savory meal. It's a simple recipe that requires minimal ingredients and can be prepared in a short amount of time, making it perfect for a nutritious weekday dinner.


The recipe for Ampalaya with Eggs has its roots deeply embedded in Filipino culinary tradition. Ampalaya, being indigenous to the tropical climate of the Philippines, has been used in Filipino cooking for centuries. The combination of ampalaya with eggs is a more recent innovation, likely developed as a way to temper the vegetable's bitterness while adding nutritional value to the dish. This recipe is a testament to Filipino ingenuity in creating flavorful, healthful dishes from locally available ingredients.


How to prepare

  1. Trim the ends of the ampalaya and cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Remove the pale, seeded section using a spoon and discard it.
  3. Cut the darker green outer shells into 0.25 inch wide strips, diagonally.
  4. In a bowl, prepare a solution of 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of salt.
  5. Place the ampalaya strips into the bowl and set aside for 2 hours.
  6. Drain the ampalaya and rinse the strips under running water.
  7. Drain again and pat dry.
  8. Cut the scallion into 2-inch lengths and then thinly slice each section lengthwise.
  9. Peel the onions, cut them in half lengthwise, and slice them into fine half rings.
  10. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  11. Once hot, add the garlic and fry until it turns light brown.
  12. Add the onions, stir, and fry for 2 minutes.
  13. Add the tomatoes, stir, and fry for another 2 minutes.
  14. Add the ampalaya, reduce the heat, and stir occasionally.
  15. Continue frying for approximately 10 minutes or until the ampalaya is tender.
  16. Stir in the beaten eggs and salt.
  17. Cook the mixture, stirring, until the eggs reach your desired consistency for scrambled eggs.
  18. Remove from heat, add the scallion strips, and serve.


  • For a heartier version of this dish, you can add ground meat (pork, beef, or chicken) or tofu for vegetarians. Some like to add a dash of soy sauce or fish sauce for added flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To reduce the bitterness of the ampalaya, soak the sliced vegetable in salted water for at least two hours before cooking. This process helps to draw out some of the bitterness. Additionally, ensure to rinse and pat dry the ampalaya thoroughly after soaking to remove any excess salt. When cooking, do not overcook the eggs; they should be soft and slightly runny, as they will continue to cook in the residual heat once removed from the stove.

Serving Suggestions

Ampalaya with Eggs is best served hot, with a side of steamed rice for a complete meal. It can also be paired with a slice of whole-grain bread for a lighter option.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in preparing Ampalaya with Eggs is the sautéing process. Sautéing the onions, garlic, and tomatoes before adding the ampalaya ensures that the flavors meld together beautifully. The eggs should be added last and cooked just until set to maintain their soft texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

If bitter melon is not available, zucchini can be used as a substitute, though it will lack the characteristic bitterness of the original dish. For a lower fat version, egg whites can be used in place of whole eggs.

Make Ahead Tips

The ampalaya can be prepped and soaked in salted water overnight in the refrigerator to save time. However, the dish is best cooked fresh to maintain the texture and flavor of the ingredients.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the dish garnished with fresh, chopped herbs such as cilantro or green onions for a pop of color and freshness. A lemon wedge on the side can also be offered for those who wish to add a bit of acidity to balance the bitterness.

Pairing Recommendations

Ampalaya with Eggs pairs well with a light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a cold glass of iced tea for a refreshing meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently in a pan over low heat to avoid overcooking the eggs.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Ampalaya with Eggs contains approximately 200 calories, making it a low-calorie option suitable for those managing their weight or looking for a light meal option.


A serving of Ampalaya with Eggs contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of these carbs come from the onions and tomatoes, with a small portion contributed by the ampalaya itself. This dish is considered low in carbohydrates, making it suitable for those on a low-carb diet.


This dish contains about 14 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the vegetable oil used in frying. Using a healthier oil option like olive oil or reducing the amount of oil can lower the fat content. The eggs also contribute to the fat content, providing healthy fats that are essential for a balanced diet.


Ampalaya with Eggs is a good source of protein, offering about 12 grams per serving. The eggs are the primary source of protein in this dish, making it an excellent option for vegetarians looking to increase their protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

Ampalaya is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B vitamins, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients contribute to the overall health benefits of the dish, including improved immunity, better digestion, and enhanced skin health.


The primary allergen in this dish is eggs. Individuals with an egg allergy should avoid this recipe or find a suitable egg substitute to accommodate their dietary restrictions.


Ampalaya with Eggs is a nutritious, low-calorie dish rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It's low in carbohydrates and can be modified to reduce fat content, making it a versatile option for various dietary needs.


Ampalaya with Eggs is a testament to the Filipino tradition of creating flavorful, nutritious dishes from simple ingredients. This dish offers a unique taste experience while providing numerous health benefits. With its easy preparation and versatile nature, it's a must-try for anyone looking to expand their culinary horizons.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a happy memory. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy kitchen. Maria was a wonderful cook, always experimenting with new flavors and ingredients. On that particular day, she had prepared a simple yet delicious dish - Ampalaya with Eggs.

I watched in fascination as Maria sliced the ampalaya, also known as bitter melon, into thin strips. She then sautéed them with garlic, onions, and tomatoes until they were tender and slightly caramelized. The aroma that filled the kitchen was heavenly, a medley of savory and slightly bitter notes that piqued my curiosity.

As Maria cracked the eggs into the pan and gently stirred them into the ampalaya mixture, I couldn't help but ask her about the recipe. She smiled and explained that it was a traditional Filipino dish, a favorite among her family and friends. She shared with me the secret to balancing the bitterness of the ampalaya with the richness of the eggs, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that would tantalize the taste buds.

I was eager to learn more, so Maria graciously invited me to join her in the kitchen. Together, we cooked and chatted, sharing stories and laughter as we prepared the dish. Maria's love for cooking was infectious, and I found myself drawn to the art of creating delicious meals from simple ingredients.

After we finished cooking, Maria served the Ampalaya with Eggs on a steaming plate, garnished with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. I took my first bite, savoring the contrasting flavors and textures that danced on my tongue. The bitterness of the ampalaya was perfectly balanced by the creamy eggs, creating a dish that was both comforting and satisfying.

From that day on, Ampalaya with Eggs became a staple in my own kitchen. I experimented with different variations, adding shrimp or tofu for extra protein, or a splash of vinegar for a tangy kick. Each time I cooked the dish, I thought of Maria and the wonderful memories we had shared in her kitchen.

Over the years, I continued to refine and perfect the recipe, making it my own. I shared it with friends and family, who marveled at the unique combination of flavors and the simplicity of the dish. Ampalaya with Eggs became a signature recipe of mine, a dish that always brought a smile to the faces of those who tasted it.

As I look back on that fateful day in Maria's kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for her generosity and culinary expertise. She opened my eyes to the beauty of Filipino cuisine, teaching me not just how to cook, but how to infuse each dish with love and care. The memory of discovering the recipe for Ampalaya with Eggs will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the joy that comes from sharing good food with good company.


| Bitter Melon Recipes | Egg Recipes | Filipino Recipes | Filipino Vegetarian | Tomato Recipes |

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