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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Canh Bi/Bau Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Pork-Stuffed Winter Melon Soup)

Canh Bi Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Winter Melon Soup) 1

This recipe is at the request of Hung Huynh (No, not the Top Chef Hung Huynh.), who was searching for a recipe for Canh O/Kho Qua Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup) because his mom always made it for the lunar new year. I'm in the can't-eat-it camp as it's just way too bitter for me. After all the eating I've been doing from the lunar festivities, I figured a few light Vietnamese soups were just the thing.

But as I'm not in the habit of making foods I can't eat, even for the blog, I made this with bi dao (Vietnamese fuzzy gourd winter melon) and bau (Vietnamese opo squash). If you wish, I finally made Canh O/Kho Qua Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup).

Canh Bi Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Winter Melon Soup) 2

The squash I selected were pretty small, about 8 inches or so in length. Peel the outside, cut into 2 inch segments, and hollow out the centers with a spoon or knife. Is this obvious or do I need to make this again and take pictures of what a hollowed out gourd looks like? :P

While the inside of bitter melon isn't edible, the inside of winter melons are so you can save those and toss them into the soup pot as well. Serve about two portions per person so this should feed at least four people.

Canh Bi Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Winter Melon Soup) 3

Canh Bi/Bau Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Pork-Stuffed Winter Melon Soup)

For 4 servings, you'll need:

1/2 lb ground pork
1 small handful of Tree/Wood Ear Fungus/Mushroom, soaked
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), or more to taste

Soak a small handful of tree ear mushrooms in water to soften.

Mix 1/2 lb ground pork with 1 minced shallot, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tblsp fish sauce. Set aside.

Peel winter melon, cut off ends. Hollow out centers with a spoon or knife. I used a serrated grapefruit spoon for ease.

By now the meat should be nicely marinaded. Add in the tree ear mushrooms and mix thoroughly.

Stuff the centers of the winter melons. If there's any extra meat, you can form small meatballs which will just flavor the soup broth.

Place the stuffed melons into a stock pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Turn the heat on high and when the water boils, turn heat down to medium or medium-low and let simmer. Skim any scum from the top.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, the winter melon will be cooked when it becomes translucent. Taste the broth and add fish sauce if necessary.

Serve as a soup or spooned over rice.


My other canh recipes:
Canh Bap Cai Bac Thao (Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Soup)
Canh Bi Tom (Vietnamese Winter Melon Soup with Shrimp)
Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup)
Canh Chua Tom (Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup)
Canh Cu Sen (Vietnamese Lotus Root Soup)
Canh O/Kho Qua Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)
Canh Rau Cuu Ky (Vietnamese (Chinese) Boxthorn Soup)

1 year ago today, Angel Hair Pasta with Bacon, Balsamic Chicken, and Diced Tomatoes.


  1. oh yum! I love this soup. It's very comforting to have after a hard day of work.

  2. What a great solution, WC! I can sometimes eat the bitter melon if it isn't too bitter, but can never count on that!

  3. Ooh, I have never heard of this dish, but it sounds lovely!

  4. When I was younger, my mom used to get so mad when she would make this but I'd only eat the meat and leave the bitter melon still floating in my bowl, hehe. Though I don't enjoy the actual veggies by themselves, I really like the flavors that bitter or winter melon contributes to the soup.

  5. Daphne,
    Comforting is the right word. :)

    Even the broth becomes too bitter for me.


    Let me know how it turns out for you.

    I can't even eat the broth. But evidently as we're older, we may be able to eat it. Or maybe it's because as we're older we lose our tastebuds? ;)

  6. BITTER MELON SOUP rocks! One of my favorites, although I've learned not even to offer a taste to non-Vietnamese friends. The bitter makes you strong!

  7. Night Watchman,
    I'm starting to try bittermelon a little more, but honestly, I just don't enjoy eating bitter foods.

  8. I made this with opo squash or what we used to call summer squash. I added some cubed ham and chicken broth in with the water at the end. I also added glass noodle and water chestnuts in with the pork mixture. Wow. It was the best soup I have eaten in a while. My kids loved it too. What a great meal on a cold fall day!


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