Bitter melons or bitter gourds are a type of vegetable that you need to acquire a taste for. They are bitter as the name suggests and those who did not grow up eating them may find it hard to ingest. My husband grew them in Florida when he was in graduate school but he never ate them until he met me. Now he enjoys eating these melons every time I make them.
Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup (serves 2-3)
1 lb ground pork
3-4 bitter melons, the ends trimmed, cut each melon into 2-3 inch sections, inside cored and discarded
1/4 C hydrated bean thread noodles, cut into 1-2 inch lengths
1/4 C hydrated and chopped wood ears
1/4 C chopped scallions
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
A pinch of sugar
3 quart cold water
1 tsp salt
1/4 C chopped cilantro, garnish
1) In a 4-quart pot, heat water over high heat.
2) In a medium size bowl mix pork, noodles, wood ears, scallions, shallot, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, pepper, and sugar well.
3) Stuff each section with the pork mixture and place in pot.
4) Form meatballs with the left over meat mixture and place in pot.
5) Turn heat down to medium once water starts to boil, scoop out and discard the scum that floats to the top. Add salt and 2 teaspoons fish sauce to the pot, cover and cook for 40 minutes or until the melon pieces are soft (if you want the soup to be more salty you may add more salt or fish sauce according to your taste).
6) Garnish with cilantro right before serving. Great with rice.
|winter in New Hampshire, 2013|
(all curled up--a good indication of how
COLD it is outside)