Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Thai-Style (แกงจืดมะระไส้หมู)

bitter melon
Have you had bitter melon? Do you like it? Have you cooked with it? What is your favorite bitter melon dish? (If you could share your bitter melon stories in the comment section, I’d be grateful.) This one is mine. I have never made or eaten bitter melon prepared any other way.

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I season about 3/4 pound of ground pork or turkey with some “white” soy sauce, minced large garlic clove, a couple of grinds of white pepper and set it aside. Then I take a large bitter melon and cut it crosswise into approximately 2.5-inch pieces. With a paring knife or a melon baller, I scoop out the seeds and membranes in the middle of the melon and scrape the inner walls clean.

The seasoned ground pork then goes inside the cavities. The stuffed bitter melon pieces are arranged in a medium pot and I cover them with simple chicken stock (made from nothing but fresh chicken carcasses; no herbs or vegetables). The whole pot is brought to a gentle boil, covered, and simmered for 20 minutes. Mom said the lid was to remain on the pot at all times lest the bitter melon become too bitter. I can’t find a scientific explanation for that, but the method has worked well and I have zero interest in fixing what ain’t broke.

Season to taste with fish sauce and garnish with cilantro leaves. The soup is served the Thai way, i.e., with rice as a main course.

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