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酿苦瓜汤 / Canh Kho Qua Don Thit: Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

Preparation time: 20 minutes


Cooking time: 1 hour


Servings: 4



Canh khổ qua dồn thịt is a culinary specialty from South Vietnam. It is a soup made from bitter melon stuffed with minced pork. The peculiar appearance and taste of these little-known vegetables will surprise you! "Khổ" means "hardship" and "qua" means "pass". Southern Vietnamese people eat this dish during the first days of the New Year with the hope of leaving hardship and bad luck in the past and starting a peaceful new year.



INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg bitter melons

Stuffing:

  • 500g minced pork
  • 400g shrimps, peeled
  • 15g dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 50g glass noodles
  • 2 tsp shallot
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp pepper

Broth:

  • 3 liters water
  • Fish sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt

Garnish (optional):

  • Spring onion stems
  • Coriander

PREPARATION


Put the dried wood ear mushrooms in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for 15 minutes. In another bowl, do the same for the glass noodles and let them soak for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the shrimps and the shallot. After the mushrooms and glass noodles have become soft, drain them and then chop them.



In a large mixing bowl, mix the pork, shrimp, mushrooms, noodles and shallot. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well and knead for a minute. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.



Cut off both ends of the bitter melons, then cut them into about 8-cm cylinders. Use the handle of a spoon to remove their central part, which is spongy and has seeds.



Stuff the bitter melons. Try not to add too much stuffing (the meat will expand a bit while cooking), or not enough (the meat may fall apart while cooking).

Fill a large pot with 3 liters of water. Add salt, chicken broth and fish sauce to your liking. Bring everything to a boil and delicately immerse the stuffed bitter melons in the water. Cook them for 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until the bitter melons are tender. You should be able to pierce through them with a chopstick. Skim off the foam if necessary.



Pour the soup into a bowl.



Serving suggestion


Blanch (or microwave) a spring onion stalk for 30 seconds and wrap it around a cylinder of bitter melon. Tie a bow. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

  • 货号: REC501
  • 现货