In a small stockpot, boil the cubed kabocha squash in water for about 15 to 20 minutes till it is soft when pierced with a fork. Drain water and set aside.
Prepare the bitter melon or ‘ampalaya’ in a small bowl by adding 2 tablespoons of sea salt and rubbing it well by hand to coat the slices. Let this mixture rest for about 10 minutes. Then wash off the salt and drain vegetables on paper towels. This process helps to remove the bitterness of the ‘ampalaya’. Set aside.
In a medium stockpot, over medium high heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, siling labuyo or bird’s eye chilies, red onions, fresh ginger, garlic, salt, peppercorns and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer.
Add the eggplants, ampalaya, sitaw, tomatoes and the boiled kabocha squash. Let this simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes till vegetables are cooked.
Serve with steamed rice.
Cook’s comments : The original recipe of ‘Paksing Demonyu’ did not have the kabocha squash nor does a regular ‘paksiw’ dish do. I added the squash because I had it in my vegetable bin and decided it would add color and a new flavor to the vegetable stew.
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