Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making Bitter Melon Soup

There has been a delay in publishing this post because I can't get blogger to upload some of the photos in the correct orientation. If anyone knows how I can rotate photos after adding them to the post, please help an amiga out, thanks! For now perhaps you can turn your eyeballs sideways to view...

You will need:
Fresh bitter melons (as many as you can handle)
Ground chicken (about 2 lbs)
Clear glass noodles (the mini packages...sorry I forgot to take a picture)
Scallions (~4 leaves chopped finely and 3 leaves cut in 2-inch pieces)
Fish sauce (just get a whole bottle if you don't already have some, you'll like it)
Chicken Bouillon (again, we have the Costco-sized container)
Salt, Ground black pepper, Sugar (to taste)

1. Start with some fresh bitter melons. Although there are only 3 in this image, I ended up using 5:
I've only seen bitter melon at Asian markets...not too hard to find right?

Cut them into 2.5-3 inch sections:
2. Set the sections aside because I forgot to mention you should soak the glass noodles in water at the beginning of the prep process:
This image is oriented correctly on my computer but it's sideways here and I don't know how to fix it :(
3. Once the noodles are happily soaking in the (tap) water, you can turn your attention back to the melon sections. Remove the insides. I used a small paring knife to separate the squishy, spongy insides from the firm, crisp outer layer. It would be beneficial to keep the sections of bitter melon whole because you'll need to stuff it later:
WASH ME after this point!
4. Next, pull out the pre-made chicken stuffing from the fridge. If your stuffing hasn't been pre-made by your mom, you can make your own stuffing by mixing the ground chicken with the finely chopped scallions, ground black pepper, and some salt. I'm not sure how much of each ingredient but I imagine no more than 1 tsp each (of salt and pepper) would suffice. Hopefully it looks something like this at the end:

Add the glass noodles (cut in 1-2 inch pieces...scissors are easiest) to the ground chicken mixture:

And mix thoroughly:
Feel free to use your clean hands to mix..It's easier to incorporate the noodles evenly with your fingers than with a spoon or fork.
5. Add enough water to fill half a large pot (or 3/4 a medium pot) and set on high heat. Don't go tend to your garden for this recipe. The next step will keep you busy so the water will boil in no time.
Water in a pot
6. It is now time to stuff the melons! I prefer to use a spoon for this step. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of the spoon stuffing technique because I haven't learned how to take pictures with my toes yet. Add enough stuffing so the chicken hangs out of the melon like so:
I like to overstuff the melon because the stuffing usually tastes better than the melon

7. Once water begins to boil, carefully drop the stuffed bitter melon into the pot:

8. Add about 2 table spoons of chicken flavored bouillon into the pot. You can add less than this if you use chicken broth for your soup base instead of water.

Once the soup is back at a healthy boil again, you can taste-test the broth. Add fish sauce, sugar, and additional chicken bouillon or salt to taste. Keep on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken looks cooked.

Drop the rest of the scallions into the soup once the melon has turned an olive green color and take pot off the heat.

Garnish with ground black pepper and enjoy! I would have liked to add cilantro to this as well but I forgot about it for this batch.


  1. how dare you being better than me at cooking :). good job B

  2. Why are you surprised by this An?

  3. ha ha. I love making fun of you and get funny response by you like this. Peace, B.