Ampalaya is the indigenous name of Bitter Melon or Momordica charantia Linn., a vegetable native to the Philippines and Southeast Asia, known for its bitter taste.
A popular vegetable often grown by many households around the world, the Ampalaya vine can grow up to 5 meters and its leaves can reach to about 4 to 10 cm. Its yellow flowers are both male and female and are responsible for what makes the Ampalaya vine famous – the melons.
The Ampalaya fruit is usually eaten while still green, because as the fruit ripens its taste grows more bitter and much less tasty. During preparation, the seeds, which turn from white to red over time, are removed. Removing the seeds helps to lessen the bitterness. The skin is retained and proves to be soft and tender once cooked.
Used as a regular vegetable ingredient for many Asian dishes, the Ampalaya is also significant for its well-documented blood sugar-lowering effect. Aside from being rich in fiber and nutrients such as iron and potassium, several key compounds have been identified in the fruit, notably charantin, vicine and polypeptide-p, a known plant insulin that numerous pre-clinical studies and limited...