Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

Bitter melon is an acquired taste and is exactly as it is named - bitter! But it is full of beneficial properties so it's worth trying to add some in. My mum served bitter melon on a regular basis while I was at home and I didn't particularly like it growing up but at some point it switched and I now crave bitter melon especially when I'm feeling run down. It might be all in the mind because I know of the amazing benefits of bitter melon or maybe it is because I do feel really good after eating it. Either way, I think everyone should give it a few goes if it's your first time trying bitter melon or if you already enjoy this amazing bitter gourd, you'll love this warming traditional Vietnamese stuffed bitter melon recipe.

Bitter Melon Soup
Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
There are two ways I really love eating bitter melon, stir fried with garlic and eggs and in soups. With soups, the sweetness of the meat (most commonly pork) usually balances the bitterness. I love eating this dish with plain jasmine rice (which isn't a problem for me).
bitter melon
Bitter melon alson known as bitter gourd

So here are some of the amazing benefits of bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) to give you some good reasons to try it :) 
  • assist with maintaining blood sugar levels as it increases the metabolism of glucose (reducing the sugar spikes) and also helps with weight loss
  • reduces kidney stones by reducing the high acids that form kidney stones
  • treat and assist with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and helps promote a more radiant complexion
  • assists the liver and digestion
These are just a few of the benefits found with consuming bitter melon (and bitter melon juice). Another great thing about bitter melons is it doesn't require much attention, you can grow the vine from a seed (when the gourd/fruit is left to over-ripen and split on it's own). My dad grows his own each year and does not require any pest control so store bought bitter melon is very likely to be free or low in pesticides.

Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

Serves 4 -6 as a shared dish or side

You will need:
  • 6 small bitter melon (about 15cm/6" long) or 3 large bitter melons
  • 1.5 litres (1.6 quart) chicken broth (click here for broth recipe)
  • 500gm free range organic minced pork
  • 4 eschalots minced
  • 2 spring onions cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (I use red boat brand here)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Wash and cut a slit in each bitter melon to expose the seeds
bitter melon
My 70 yo dad's model hands
  • remove the seeds with a teaspoon, set aside

bitter melon
remove all the seeds
  • combine the minced pork, minced eschalots, salt, pepper, fish sauce
  • divide the pork mixture equally between bitter melon and stuff
  • place the broth in a saucepan large enough to fit the bitter melon (warm the broth up to a liquid if it is cold and gelatinous)
  • place the stuffed bitter melons in the broth and simmer gently for 1 hour
  • garnish with the spring onions and more freshly cracked pepper
  • we grew up eating this dish with white jasmine rice, which I sometimes still do so if you can tolerate rice, try it :)
bitter melon soup
Simmer in chicken broth for an hour and garnish with spring onions & more freshly cracked pepper just before serving

Using chicken bone broth as the soup base makes this stuffed bitter melon soup even more nutritious as you have the benefits of bone broth (which you can read more about here) combined with the benefits of bitter melon making this another super power meal.

My wonderful holistic doctor has also suggested slicing it very thinly and having it raw to increase my intake of bitter greens, I can't say I have tried it yet (or want to) but I did let me bubba try one fresh off the vine...

bitter melon
he did go back for seconds :)

Thanks for visiting! <3

May xx

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