In my experiment to Make Bitter Melon Less Bitter, the last recipe I made was Hmong Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup with Ground Pork, Cilantro, and Scallions. Most of the steps were the same as Canh O/Kho Qua Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup), except I used cilantro and scallions in place of the vermicelli noodles and tree ear fungus. I also added a few stalks of lemongrass to the broth.
The cilantro, scallions, and lemongrass gave the Hmong bitter melon soup a fresher, "greener" flavor, if you will. I love finding variations for familiar dishes and discovered this version in "Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America" by Sami Scripter and Sheng Yang. The dish is called Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua in Hmong.
The original recipe seemed pretty bland (only 1/2 tsp for six bitter melons), had no fish sauce (which I think the Hmong in Vietnam would have used), and suggested MSG (which I don't add to my cooking). So obviously, I made adjustments and scaled down the recipe. Still, this version was a lovely variation to add to my collection of bitter melon recipes.
Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua (Hmong Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup with Ground Pork, Cilantro, and Scallions)
Adapted from "Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America" by Sami Scripter and Sheng Yang.
For about 4 servings, you'll need:
2 bitter melons, insides removed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb ground pork
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), or more to taste
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
Optional: additional chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish.
If you'd like to lessen the bitterness of bitter melon, set a pot of water to boil to blanch the bitter melon.
Slice the bitter melon into approximately 2-inch chunks. Use a spoon to remove the insides. I use a serrated grapefruit spoon for ease. Discard the insides.
Cleaned and scraped bitter melon pieces.
Parboil for just a few minutes to lessen the bitterness if you'd like. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
In a bowl, add about 1/2 lb ground pork, 2 sliced scallions, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tblsp fish sauce.
Spoon the pork mixture into each bitter melon. Form small balls with any remaining meat.
Place the stuffed bitter melons and a few stalks of bruised lemongrass into a stock pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Turn the heat on high and when the water boils, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low and let simmer. Skim any scum from the top.
After about 15 to 20 minutes, the bitter melon will be cooked when it softens and turns dark. Taste the broth and season if necessary.
Add more cilantro and scallions for garnish if you wish.
Serve as a soup or spooned over rice.
I loved the colors in these photos so much. I just couldn't narrow it down to my usual three.
Vietnamese and Hmong bitter melon soups.
Along with the Chinese ground pork and Vietnamese egg bitter melon stir fries for my recipe experiments on how to make bitter melon less bitter.
Other bitter melon recipes:
Canh O/Kho Qua Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)
Chinese Bitter Melon Stir-Fry with Ground Pork and Black Bean Sauce
Goya Champuru (Okinawan Bitter Melon Stir-Fry with Pork Belly, Tofu, and Eggs)
O/Kho Qua Xao Trung (Vietnamese Stir-Fried Bitter Melon with Eggs)
Vegetarian Goya Champuru (Okinawan Bitter Melon Stir-Fry with Tofu and Eggs)
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today, Half and Half Tea House - Monterey Park.
4 years ago today,
5 years ago today, Goi Ga Bap Cai (Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad).
6 years ago today, a reader makes my bo luc lac (Vietnamese shaking beef) recipe.
7 years ago today, Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup).