Example of Vegetable Dishes and Procedures on how to cook

ampalaya guisado

Ampalaya Guisado is a simple vegetable dish made by sauteing bitter gourd in garlic, onion and tomatoes and finished off by topping with beaten egg.

Ampalaya or Bitter gourd is a tropical vegetable that has a strong bitter taste.

The health benefits, though, should compensate for the taste. It is known to lower sugar levels and thus, good for diabetics. Also effective in treating hypertension, constipation, and the juice is said to be a good blood purifier.

You can lessen or mellow out the bitterness of the ampalaya by sprinkling some salt and setting aside to sweat, then wringing out the juice.

Though if you want the full nutrition that you could possibly get from this vegetable dish, leave out the juice.


  • Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pork Shoulder
  • Canned Broth, Pork, Chicken or Vegetable
  • Whole Eggs


  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Fish Sauce
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Oil


  • 2 pieces Ampalaya, cut in half, seeded and sliced into 1/4″ crosswise
  • 2 pieces tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 1/2 pound pork, pre-boiled and cubed
  • 2 pieces whole eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, for sauteing

1   Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Add the pork and saute for a minute.

2   Add the ampalaya and the fish sauce.

3  Pour in the broth and cover to let it boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still firm.

4  Season with pepper.

5  Pour the beaten eggs on top and do not stir. Let it cook for a minute before turning the heat off.

6  Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!


  • If you had salted the ampalaya to sweat out the bitter juice, you can rinse out the salt if you want. Otherwise, adjust the fish sauce that you will put in so the dish will not be too salty.
  • Do not stir the eggs once you add it in so it doesn’t break down and look unappetizing.

If you have fried fish or pork leftovers from the day before, you can use them here as long as they’re not seasoned with overpowering flavors.


Green Papaya Relish

Atsara is the Filipino equivalent to the pickle relish, though the way they’re enjoyed are totally different.

Atchara, is usually paired with fried foods and rice while Pickle Relish is topped on sandwiches.

Their similarity is in the pickling, they both use vinegar and sugar.

And contrary to popular beliefs, Atchara is not the same as Sauerkraut, where cabbage is pickled with just vinegar and no sugar.

Green papaya is the most common Atsara, though other vegetables can also be pickled, such as Radishes, Ampalaya, Singkamas, etc.

The process of making atchara is easy but quite tedious.

The green papaya is shredded, then salt is sprinkled to first sweat out its liquid, then wrung out (pigain) to remove as much liquid as possible.

The bell peppers, carrots, onion and ginger are sliced and mixed with the papaya, then boiled vinegar and sugar are poured on to it.


  • Green Papaya
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Raisins(optional)


  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt


  • 4 cups Green Papaya
  • 1/2 cup Bell Peppers, cut in strips
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, cut in rounds or in flowerlike decorative rounds
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 thumb-size Ginger, cut in small strips
  • 1/4 cup Raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt or Rock salt


COOKING TIME : 10 minutes

1Shred the papaya using a fine shredder or a food processor with a shredding disk. Sprinkle with salt, mix and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

2Boil the vinegar and sugar together, then set aside.

3Wring out the liquid from the papaya, then add all the other ingredients.

4Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.

5Pack in sterilized or clean containers and keep refrigerated.


    • Do not use Iodized Salt in this recipe. Use either Kosher Salt, Rock Salt or Pickling Salt as they make the pickling liquid clear and not cloudy.


    • Want a spicy Atchara? Add jalapeno or Thai Chili (Siling Labuyo). And depending on how hot you want it, you could adjust by adding or removing the seeds and ribs of the pepper.


    • Some Asian supermarkets carry frozen shredded green papaya. They’re not as crunchy as the freshly prepared but will do if you don’t have the time (and patience) to prepare the papaya.


  • This is a refrigerated pickle product so they are not shelf stable. It’s best to keep them in the fridge.


Ginataan Kalabasa with Sitaw

Creamy Squash and String Beans Cooked in Coconut Milk

Ginataan Kalabasa with Sitaw is a rich, thick vegetable dish of squash and string beans, made creamy by coconut milk.

The dish is slightly sweet because of the squash, the kind which has a deep yellow flesh and rich sweet flavor when cooked.

If you live in the Philippines, this variety is most probably the only one you will find.

However, outside the PI, you might find one that looks like this, but bland and not sweet once cooked.

Also, most are called or popularly known as pumpkins, instead of squash.


Some people prefer the dish without the string beans, though the beans gives it a contrasting texture from the soft squash.

Also, the meat ingredient depends on the cook’s preference.

The popular choice is seafoods such as shrimp or crabs, but pork and beef may also be used.

Chicken, on the other hand, is taboo, as there is an old wives tale that one can contract a disease if one eats squash with chicken.

My mom heard it from my grandma, so mom would rather not have any meat at all than serve squash with chicken.

Though I cannot find any merit or foundation to the belief, I don’t have a problem with that since my preference has always been shrimp when cooking with squash.


  • Squash or Kalabasa
  • String Beans
  • Shrimp
  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Cream



  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Long Chili peppers(optional)
  • Fish Sauce or Shrimp Paste
  • Ground Pepper


  • 5 cups Squash, cut in cubes
  • 3 cups String Beans, cut in 1 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1/2 pound whole shrimp, head and shells removed, with tails intact
  • 1/2 can or 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 can or 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup shrimp broth(from boiled shrimp head and shells)
  • 2 tablespoon shrimp paste or 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 Long Chili Pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp Ground Pepper
  • Cooking oil for sauteing

1 Pan-fry the shrimps in little oil for about 30 seconds per side, then set aside.

2 Using the same pan and oil, saute the garlic, onion and chili pepper, then add the shrimp paste.

3 Add the squash and string beans and cook for a minute.

4 Pour in the coconut milk and shrimp broth, bring to a boil.

5 Turn heat down and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

6 Add the coconut cream to thicken the sauce and cook for a few minutes.

7 Put in the cooked shrimps and season with salt(if needed) and pepper.

8 Serve hot with rice.


Stewed Eggplant, Okra, Ampalaya
with Salted Fish Sauce



Pinakbet, or Pakbet an Ilocano dish, is stewed vegetables of eggplant, bitter melon(ampalaya), okra and tomatoes and seasoned with bagoong isda or thick salted fish sauce.

My Ilocano friend says they cook Pinakbet by layering the veggies in a pot, with the longest cooking time at the bottom and just let it simmer(without stirring or mixing) right until the veggies are cooked.

This way, the ampalaya, okra and eggplants hold up their shapes.

For this recipe, I did the Filipino standard of sauteing wherein the garlic goes in the oil first until lightly browned, the onions are next until translucent, then the rest of the ingredients.

I say, Filipino standard of sauteing, (pag-gisa/guisado),because you will not find that process in other cookbooks.

In fact, Culinary books will teach you to saute the onions first and the garlic last so as not to burn it and ruin the dish.

Well, you go with what works for you.

  • 2 pieces Ampalaya (Bitter Melon), cut into 2″ length
  • 2 pieces eggplant, cut into 2″ length wedges
  • 6-8 pieces okra, tops trimmed off or cut diagonally if longer than 2″ length
  • 2 pieces tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Bagoong Isda (Thick Salted Fish Sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cup broth, shrimp, fish or pork
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, for sauteing


COOKING TIME : 25 minutes

1 Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Add the pork and saute for a minute.

2 Turn the heat down and add the vegetables, layering them in the pan from the bottom in this order : ampalaya, okra, and eggplant.

3 Add the broth and bagoong. Cover, let it boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still firm.

4 Stir in the fish or shrimp. Season with ground pepper.

5 Serve with rice.





16 thoughts on “Example of Vegetable Dishes and Procedures on how to cook

  1. ampalaya is said to bitter.
    ..but watch out the nutrients we can get through this vegetable. Is ampalaya really nutritious?
    ..yes, of course it is..good for a diabetic person.

    ~Marielle Sarte~


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