fbpx Recipes • NZ Vegetarian Society Skip to content

Filipino - “Ampalaya” (bitter gourd)

40 mins
Serves 4
Savoury pancakes

Vegetarianism is growing rapidly in New Zealand, but other parts of the world have had meat-free cuisines for centuries. For a rich and varied plant-based diet, talk to Chinese, Indians, Mexicans… Our wonderful volunteers have shared authentic recipes from around the world. Most of these recipes were traditionally vegan, but some were meat-based recipes that have been ‘veganised’. We have collected 31 recipes from 31 different countries to share with you – one for each day of October, World Vegetarian Month.

This meal is a a famous Pinoy dish from the Philippines. Thanks Lui Mateu for the recipe.


  • Water with salt and lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 large or 2 small pieces ampalaya cleaned and cut into thin slices
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs garlic minced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 small tomatoes diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 block of tofu


  1. Squeeze lemon in the salt water. Soak the ampalaya for 15 mins.
  2. Stir fry the garlic and onions using olive oil then add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the ampalaya from lemon salt water and add into the stir fried mix cook in low heat until ampalaya is cooked. Should be good after 10 minutes. 
  4. Then add the tofu, diced into pieces, once cooked through serve.

    Note: Ampalaya (bitter gourd) can be found in Asian Supermarkets such as TaiPing in Mount Albert or New Lynn.