Bitter melon is an acquired taste and is exactly as it is named – bitter! But it is full of beneficial properties so it’s worth trying to add some in. My mum served bitter melon on a regular basis while I was at home and I didn’t particularly like it growing up but at some point it switched and I now crave bitter melon especially when I’m feeling run down. It might be all in the mind because I know of the amazing benefits of bitter melon or maybe it is because I do feel really good after eating it. Either way, I think everyone should give it a few goes if it’s your first time trying bitter melon or if you already enjoy this amazing bitter gourd, you’ll love this warming traditional Vietnamese stuffed bitter melon recipe.
Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
There are two ways I really love eating bitter melon, stir fried with garlic and eggs and in soups. With soups, the sweetness of the meat (most commonly pork) usually balances the bitterness. I love eating this dish with plain jasmine rice (which isn’t a problem for me).
Bitter melon alson known as bitter gourd
So here are some of the amazing benefits of bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) to give you some good reasons to try it 🙂
assist with maintaining blood sugar levels as it increases the metabolism of glucose (reducing the sugar spikes) and also helps with weight loss
reduces kidney stones by reducing the high acids that form kidney stones
treat and assist with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and helps promote a more radiant complexion
assists the liver and digestion
These are just a few of the benefits found with consuming bitter melon (and bitter melon juice). Another great thing about bitter melons is it doesn’t require much attention, you can grow the vine from a seed (when the gourd/fruit is left to over-ripen and split on it’s own). My dad grows his own each year and does not require any pest control so store bought bitter melon is very likely to be free or low in pesticides.
VIETNAMESE STUFFED BITTER MELON SOUP
Serves 4 -6 as a shared dish or side
You will need:
6 small bitter melon (about 15cm/6″ long) or 3 large bitter melons
1.5 litres (1.6 quart) chicken broth (click here for broth recipe)
Wash and cut a slit in each bitter melon to expose the seeds
My 70 yo dad’s model hands
remove the seeds with a teaspoon, set aside
remove all the seeds
combine the minced pork, minced eschalots, salt, pepper, fish sauce
divide the pork mixture equally between bitter melon and stuff
place the broth in a saucepan large enough to fit the bitter melon (warm the broth up to a liquid if it is cold and gelatinous)
place the stuffed bitter melons in the broth and simmer gently for 1 hour
garnish with the spring onions and more freshly cracked pepper
we grew up eating this dish with white jasmine rice, which I sometimes still do so if you can tolerate rice, try it 🙂
Simmer in chicken broth for an hour and garnish with spring onions & more freshly cracked pepper just before serving
Using chicken bone broth as the soup base makes this stuffed bitter melon soup even more nutritious as you have the benefits of bone broth (which you can read more about here) combined with the benefits of bitter melon making this another super power meal.
My wonderful holistic doctor has also suggested slicing it very thinly and having it raw to increase my intake of bitter greens, I can’t say I have tried it yet (or want to) but I did let me bubba try one fresh off the vine…
I am a certified Holistic Health Coach and Mother of 3. My food awakening journey starts as a cross cultured kid growing up in South West Sydney in the 80’s. Arriving as a Vietnamese refugee and immersed in the many cultures that gathered around in the suburbs meant we travelled the world in one day with our palates.