Friday, October 24, 2008

#26_Ampalaya with Shrimps

Shrimps with Ampalaya

Steamed Shrimps
Almost-paper-thin slices of Ampalaya

Sliced Ampalaya soaking in water and salt
A few weeks ago, my friend, Aida, was reminiscing about the time when my parents lived here with me. She said that she missed my mother's Shrimp with Ampalaya. I told her that I would try to make some for her. I made some last week but, I don't think it's as good as my mother's....hers is always the best. On a scale of 1-10, I think I'll give mine an 8.5! Not too bad.
My mother was also good at stretching menus and at the same time maintaining the nutritional values in her dishes that she fixed for her family. This dish is so easy to cook and so simple that it only has the shrimps and ampalaya as the basic ingredients, and yet it is so full of flavor and so nutritious.


Start with the ampalaya by cutting them crosswise about 2 inches long and cutting each piece into halves. Then take out the seeds and the white membrane with a knife. To achieve thin slices of the ampalaya, use a vegetable peeler. Then soak the sliced ampalaya in water and salt. Lots of salt! because the salt sucks out the bitterness of the vegetable. After an hour or so, rinse it with water.

While the ampalaya is soaking in salt and water, steam the shrimps.
First, clean the shrimps by cutting off their whiskers and the thorns (for lack of scientific terms) and rinse them with water and while they are still dripping, put them right in a pot. The drips from the shrimps is all the water needed to steam the shrimps. Put the lid on and cook them over medium high heat. After about 2 minutes, and with the lid on, gently shake or toss the shrimps. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Take the lid off and put some salt and some butter on the shrimps. Give the shrimps a little more shaking and tossing and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, uncovered. At this point, add some rice water, ( for a pound of shrimps, use about 3-4 cups of water or rice water) and bring to a boil. Add some patis or salt, whichever you prefer, and simmer for few minutes. Finally, add the rinsed ampalaya, but do not put the lid on. Bring it back to a boil, without stirring, until the ampalaya is tender and cooked. 

Notes from Mamely:
1)Fried fish can be substituted for the shrimps. 
2) Update: I learned that the bitterness in the ampalaya is good in lowering blood sugar, so now I don't soak them in salt and water anymore.

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