I have a new toy in the kitchen, a heavy non-stick pan my cousin gave me for Christmas. I regularly use it for frying, stir-frying and sautéing. I used it again yesterday when I made ampalaya con carne for dinner. Ampalaya, also known as bitter melon or bitter gourd, is one of my favorite vegetables. It is a popular vegetable amongst Filipino, despite its bitter taste. It is in fact, one of the main ingredients in a popular Filipino dish, pinakbet (Vegetable stew). While others simply stir-fry it with garlic, tomato and eggs, I prefer to cook it with beef and oyster sauce. The beef is first marinated to make it flavorful and more tender. It is then browned and stir-fried with bitter melons, oyster sauce and soy sauce. This dish is tasty, delicious and easy to make. My husband and I love this dish and surprisingly, my oldest son does too! 😀
Ampalaya con Carne (Beef with Bitter Melon)
- ½ lb beef sirloin tip steak
- 2 medium pieces (about 1 lb) ampalaya (Chinese Bitter Melon)
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine or sherry
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Slice the sirloin steak into thin, narrow strips.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the sliced beef and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bitter melon by slicing in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon and then slice each half crosswise as thinly as possible.
- Using a non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the marinated beef and stir-fry until the beef is no longer pink, around 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and stir to coat.
- Stir in the bitter melon. Add the water and the remaining 2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Stir and then cook, covered until the bitter melon is crisp tender, around 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the skillet sit, covered for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve with steamed rice.