Bitter Melon Scrambled Eggs – A Healthy Way to Start the Day

Growing up, my parents grew bitter melon in our garden in Pennsylvania, so they used it in a lot of dishes. It took me awhile to get used to the flavor as it is very bitter (hence, the name). I wondered what our neighbors thought of us because we were always outside cultivating something, and bitter melon was one of the more exotic vegetables we grew. I knew bitter melon as, Ampalaya, which is the Filipino name. It’s also popular in India where it’s referred to as Karela.

It’s a type of fruit grown in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. When eaten raw, the taste is bitter but when cooked the bitterness is more subdued. It looks like a cucumber with gourd-like bumps everywhere and has a beautiful lime green color. There have been many studies on the vitamin-heavy bitter melon which has a very long list of health benefits like stimulating digestion, a cold and flu remedy, and even the use as treatment for cancer and diabetes. It is also very popular in Filipino cooking, especially in stews or stir-fries. The recipe I made was one of my mom’s favorite breakfasts growing up in the Philippines. We eat it with rice, along with some spicy Sriracha sauce. Bitter melon can be found at most Asian grocery stores or Whole Foods. You can substitute with zucchini if you can’t find it.


Bitter Melon Scrambled Eggs Recipe

  • 3/4 cup bitter melon, halved & sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 slices bacon, roughly chopped (*can be omitted for vegetarian option)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • salt (or fish sauce) & pepper, to taste

    Heat a skillet on medium. Add bacon and cook for about 2 minutes. In the meantime, whisk eggs. Then scoop out insides of bitter melon and slice. Set eggs and bitter melon aside. Add garlic and onion to the bacon and saute for about a minute, then add bitter melon, cook for about 2 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes and saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs and scramble to desired consistency. I usually like my eggs runny but not for this recipe, so I cooked them through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a side of rice.

    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Yield: 2 servings

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    12 Responses to “Bitter Melon Scrambled Eggs – A Healthy Way to Start the Day”

    1. Rowena @Saraplicious! Kitchen August 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

      I love Ampalaya. Definitely one of my favorites. I love the pictures!

      • Barb August 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

        Thanks Rowena! I love Ampalaya, too. Might make it with Mongo soon.

    2. Tes August 19, 2011 at 8:27 am #

      My mom used to cook biiter melon and egg this way when I was a kid 🙂 This recipe bring back my childhood memory 🙂

      • Barb August 19, 2011 at 9:13 am #

        Tes, I’m glad this brought back childhood memories! I love recipes like that 🙂

    3. briarrose August 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      I’ve never tried bitter melon before, but what a great addition to scrambled eggs.

    4. Eftychia August 21, 2011 at 7:54 am #

      I could never think of eating bitter melon with scrambled eggs… Surely a healthy way to start your day!

    5. edna lewis September 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

      Well… bitter melon is definitely an acquired taste. I tried this for dinner tonight. I would only suggest one change: If this is new to you, cut the bitter melon into a small dice. I think the flavor would be much more agreeable. I also topped with Parmesan cheese and chives.

      • Barb September 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

        Thanks for the feedback Edna. I agree, bitter melon can be an acquired taste to some. You can also try cooking it a little longer to mellow out the bitterness. But I like your suggestion to cut into smaller pieces.

      • Diana August 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

        Our Chinese restaurant says to slice the bitter melon and boil it for a couple of minutes. Drain it off and then add to your dish. Cuts the bitterness.

    6. läsa mera April 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      Thankyou for the efforts which you have put in this particular. really interesting info.

    7. gaby March 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks for posting this recipe! I’d been missing this ampalaya dish. I just made it tonight – tasty and healthy! Thanks!

      • Barb March 27, 2015 at 10:51 am #

        Awesome, glad you enjoyed this ampalaya dish Gaby! 😀

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