Beef Ampalaya (Beef with Bitter Gourd)

Beef ampalaya is not a traditional Filipino recipe but it was well accepted as one of the favorite Filipino dishes. It has some oriental blend with the addition of oyster sauce and black beans which are widely used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines. Cooking is simple, all you need is to saute the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes then you have a tasty beef ampalaya dish.


Preparing the ampalaya or bitter gourd is simple. To remove the bitter taste, soak it first in water with few teaspoons of rock salt for a few hours. Don’t squeeze the ampalaya with salt which some people recommend as it is not effective. Using baking soda is also as good method. Use it instead of salt with water and soak the ampalaya for a few hours then rinse before cooking.


How to Cook Beef Ampalaya (Beef with Bitter Gourd)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Beef Recipe
Cuisine: Filipino
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 kilo beef tenderloin, slice into strips
  • 2 large bitter gourd or ampalaya
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • ½ head garlic, minced
  • ½ cup oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 small can black beans (optional)
  • cooking oil
How to cook beef ampalaya:
  1. Marinade the beef strips with soy sauce and pepper at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a small wok or large skillet heat oil and stir fry the beef strips until it turns brown and sizzles. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil again and saute garlic, onion and ampalaya.
  4. Then add the oyster sauce and ¼ cup water and simmer for at least 3 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked beef and put a little magic sarap, about ½ tsp. then add the sugar.
  6. Season with salt and mix then simmer again for a few seconds.
  7. Turn off heat and serve hot.



Beef Ampalaya