Ampalaya salad isnâ€™t as bad as it sounds. More a relish than a dish, it pairs superbly with fried fish, lechon kawali or other sinfully fat filled partners. The reaction to my earlier ampalaya entries really got me thinking so today I did the heretofore unthinkable and made a raw ampalaya salad. Wash a nice large fresh ampalaya, scoop out the seeds and cut it into very thin strips and sprinkle with rock salt and leave it in a colander to sweatâ€¦ after an hour or so, squeeze the liquid out of it. Others might rinse it too but I didnâ€™t as I wanted the salt in the salad. Add several tablespoons of native vinegar or I actually used apple cider vinegar for mine, add some chopped onions, a little garlic, one tomato, some chilli, sugar and if it lacks salt a little fish sauce. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes and serve chilled.
While preparing the salad, I got really brave and popped a raw slice or two of ampalaya into my mouth. You know, it wasnâ€™t half bad! Chris, a reader had written this in a comment and I just had to test for myself. In fact, I found it to be less bitter than some cooked ampalayas! The salad was interesting. I wouldnâ€™t say it falls in my Top 10 salads but it wasnâ€™t bad. With a little getting used to I could see why others really like this concoction with fried dishes. The vinegar acid and bitter bite complement the fried salty flesh of fish or meat. It went brilliantly with the fried tilapias you see in the photos. And that is the last of the ampalaya entries for a whileâ€¦