Ginataang Ampalaya or Linagang Amargoso as it is termed in Bicol, is simply stewing bitter melon in coconut milk with other condiments and spices. It’s one of the few typical bitter melon recipes that Filipinos, or should I say, Bicolanos serve for lunch or dinner, along with other unique Bicol recipes. Ampalaya or Amargoso is cooked with either pork meat, dried fish or smoked fish, together with bagoong alamang(shrimp paste) and spices.

With Mark’s easy Ginataang Ampalaya recipe, or Linagang Amargoso, a great amount of chili peppers are applied. If you haven’t noticed, yet, Mark and Bicolanos in general, like most of our meals, spicy. Even though, chili peppers are not applied to the dish, we always apply spicy condiments with it. To us, making our meals spicier, is more appetizing to us.

Ingredients: 3-4 servings

4-6 pieces of large, sliced Ampalaya(bitter melons)
1 lb. pork belly fat and skin
2-3 tbsp. bagoong alamang(shrimp paste)
1-2 cups freshly grated coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium sliced onions
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup water

Note: Please check my blog to learn how to reduce excess bitterness from ampalaya prior to cooking. Also, don’t forget to rinse bagoong alamang with running water, to remove excess salt. If you’re using cooked shrimp paste, apply wisely. Perhaps do not add anymore salt. If freshly grated coconut milk is not available, use 1 large can(14 oz.) sold from the grocery store.

  1. On a wok or deep pan, combine 1-2 cups of freshly grated coconut milk, water, pork belly skin, bagoong alamang, garlic, onions, sliced chili peppers and crushed black peppers together. Whisk to combine evenly.
  2. Heat up the oven to medium and bring the coconut milk to a boil. Let it simmer for 5-8 minutes or until it bubbles, while stirring occasionally, to keep the coconut milk from curding.
  3. When coconut milk slightly thickens and the pork belly is fork tender, pour all ampalaya slices and stir thoroughly to mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Apply a lid to let it simmer for another 5 minutes, allowing the bitter melon to cook. Remove the lid and stir the mixture to keep coconut milk silky smooth.
  5. Allow it to simmer for another 3-5 minutes until coconut milk is slightly drained, while pork belly cubes are fully cooked and ampalaya slices are softened or cooked. Remove from the heat and serve it hot with steamed rice.

Tip: For a more appetizingly good Ginataang Amplaya recipe or Linagang Amargoso taste, allow the coconut milk to thicken and produce its oily sauce. Top it with vinegar and fish sauce as condiments while it is served.