Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Soup – Canh Kho Qua Nhoi Thit

I learned this recipe from a Vietnamese friend, Bok’s colleague Hieu (a.k.a. Kobe).  His wife cooks this Vietnamese soup for him and when I tasted it, it was goodbye to my traditional style of cooking bitter melon with eggs.  Thank you Kobe!! Thank you Mrs. Kobe 🙂

This soup is very light but “bitter” if you are not used to eating this kind of vegetable.  Bitter melon belongs to the gourd family.  It is usually used in Asian cooking or used for it’s medicinal properties.  When I was young, my siblings and I were served bitter melon sauteed in eggs, tomatoes and a little bit of pork.  It was a long… very long learning experience to get used to the taste.  I thought I’d never learn to eat it but now that I live in the U.S., I always recollect upon the old recipes we used to cook when we were young eating simple dishes in The Philippines.

To make this soup is economical, healthful and easy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 Medium Bitter Gourd/Melon
  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey (Pork or Chicken can be used as well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped wood ear mushrooms (use fresh or dehydrated)
  • 1 cup glass noodle or vermicelli (soaked in warm water and chopped)
  • 2-3 large shallots (sliced, fried and seasoned with salt)
  • 4 stalks of green onions chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, pepper, mushroom seasoning or fish sauce (optional)

In a large bowl, combine ground meat, chopped green onions, chopped wood ear mushrooms, glass noodle, and egg. Season to taste (salt and pepper) and mix well.

Cut the bitter gourd into 2-3 inch cylinder.  Removed the fibrous pulp using a teaspoon.  You may soak the prepared bitter melon in salt water for 20 minutes before stuffing to removed a little bit of the bitter taste.  Make sure to rinse it before stuffing.

Stuff the meat mixture into the gourd cylinders making sure it is not stuffed loosely or too tightly.

Fill a large stock pot with 3 liters of water.  Wait until rolling boil.  Slowly drop the stuffed bitter melon into the boiling water. Return to boil and removed the excess scum or foam with a skimmer.  Boil for 20-25 minutes.  Season with fish sauce… I don’t use fish sauce but I use mushroom seasoning or just plain salt.  When it’s done transfer to a bowl and garnish with the fried shallots and chopped cilantro leaves.  These will truly bring out a great flavor for your soup.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe.  I cook a large batch of this and Bok brings it to work for his lunch.  It’s very healthy and light you will enjoy this anytime of the year.

Hạnh phúc nấu ăn!  (Happy Cooking!)

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