Bitter Melon Soup
–My mother usually uses 3-4 bitter melons for our family of four.
She likes to pick the smaller melons because there will be less meat stuffed inside.
Green onions & Cilantro (optional)
Soak the vermicelli noodles for 15-20 minutes to soften.
Then drain and cut into smaller pieces.
In a large bowl, combine noodles, meat mixture, and egg.
Stir it altogether until everything looks well mixed.
Cut the bitter melons into cylindric sections of about 2-3 inches in length then scrape the seeds out.
Stuff the bitter melons with the meat mixture and set aside.
Place a large pot on the stove and fill with stock to boil.
When boiled, add the meat-stuffed bitter melons. Make sure there’s enough broth to completely envelop all of the bitter melons.
Depending on how soft you want the bitter melons, leave soup in a soft boil for 1.5-2 hours. Since you can eat bitter melon raw, you’ll just want to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through.
My mother prefers it to be on the softer side, so she’ll leave it cooking for 2 hours.
Optional: Add chopped green onions and cilantro to the serving bowl before serving hot soup.
1. My mother’s meat mixture contains ground pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, nuoc mam, salt, pepper, red onions, and oyster sauce. She makes this quite often and a lot of it too. She portions the mixture out on saran wrap then puts it in our freezer until she needs it. The pork to shrimp ratio is about 2:1. When combining all the ingredients, it should be pretty thick and sticky. She mixes the whole thing with her hands and occasionally will pick it up and throw it down back into the bowl. The final product should hold together pretty tightly and should not droop down when you pick it up. This is to ensure chewiness.
2. My mother, superhero that she is, makes stock every week, but you can really use any type of stock. Hers contains a black chicken, pork shoulder, ginger, and dried scallops.