Ampalaya con Carne with Oyster Sauce

Recipe by :  Ariel Jasa,  Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Ampalaya con Carne is simply sauteed ampalaya with beef slices, which is one of the popular ways to serve and appreciate the bitter gourd or bitter melon.

My version is different because rather than just sauteing in garlic and onion with some beef slices,  I added some ingredients typically found in Chinese cooking.

I was never a fan of ampalaya growing up,  but knowing that it is good for you,  might as well tweak it so my kids will somehow develop an acquired taste to it.

I cut the ampalaya and put coarse salt generously(just like in pickling),  set aside for at least 30 minutes to sweat its (bitter)juices. Then I rinsed off the salt with hot water.

However,  if you prefer it to be 'as it is' - bitterness and all,  you can skip the salting part.

I sauteed it with beef, seasoned with oyster sauce with star of anise, ginger, and a little bit of brown sugar.

Here’s my take on Ampalaya con Carne which I hope you will try soon.   


  • Ampalaya
  • Beef Brisket
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Star Anise


  • Soy Sauce
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown Sugar
  • Ground Pepper
  • Cooking Oil


  • 2 pieces Ampalaya, sliced in 1/4 inch thickness
  • 3 tablespoons Coarse Salt
  • Hot water
  • 1/2 kilo Beef brisket
  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 piece Onion
  • 1 head Garlic
  • 4 tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 6 pieces Star anise
  • 1 1/2 liters Water
  • 2 teaspoon Brown sugar
  • 2 thumb size Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. water (slurry)
  • Cooking Oil for sauteing

1    Put the sliced ampalaya on a colander, then put the salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. (notice than some of its juices are draining in the colander).

2   Rinse the ampalaya by pouring hot water, then squeeze the excess liquid. Set aside.

3   Boil the beef in 1 1/2 liters of water with 1 pc onion, half of garlic head, 3 pcs. star of anise, soy sauce and half of the ginger for an hour or until tender. Set aside.

Saute remaining garlic, onion, ginger and star anise.

5   Add the beef, oyster sauce, brown sugar and ground pepper.

6   Mix in the ampalaya, saute for a little bit and add 2 cups of the broth from the cooked beef.

7   Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until ampalaya is tender, then add the slurry to thicken the sauce.

8   Serve hot with steamed white rice.

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