Bitter Melon & Guava Salad in Pineapple and two-basil vinaigrette
I know most of you loathe that notorious bitter taste in ampalaya, much more if it is prepared raw. I am blessed that my tongue appreciates that fifth basic taste. I was blessed I was trained in my childhood days to eat this vegetable. I still remember how me and my siblings ate with our bare hands roasted ampalaya with grilled green bell peppers, which from time to time tossed in that Kapampangan favorite “buro” or fermented rice, with some pickled onions on the side. Ahhh, simple yet sublime. I can even eat a lot of rice if this is served for breakfast (oh, I remember Cabalen in SM City Cebu, they are serving this “burong hipon” paired with boiled vegetables of amplaya, eggplant and string beans (sitaw or batong in local dialect). Thanks for my papsi who taught us how to eat this bitter vegetable. Ampalaya is also one of our crop, and this gives papsi a daily supply of his favorite talbos ng ampalaya, again eaten and enjoyed raw.
For this raw salad, we need the following:
1 medium size fresh green ampalaya, cored and sliced thinly. Chill in refrigerator before serving
1 medium size guava, seeds removed, and sliced thinly.
2 medium size green tomatoes, sliced
For the vinaigrette:
2 medium slices of fresh pineapples
3-4 leaves of fresh Thai basil
3-4 leaves of fresh Holy Basil
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
3 tbsp of wild honey
a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
a sprig of mint for garnish
How to prepare:
1. For the vinaigrette, put all ingredients in food processor and liquefy it. If desired, add more honey, salt or vinegar according to taste
2. Mix the trio of chilled ampalaya, guava and tomatoes, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
3. If desired you can add roasted nuts, raisins and or other dried fruits.
4. Serve immediately