July 11, 2021

image of Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe (1)

Canh Khổ Qua or Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup is a traditional Vietnamese dish that features a delicate balance between the slight bitterness from the bitter melon and the springy, savory sweetness from the carrots and meat in the filling. Rounded up with a delicious, warm soup with a comforting depth of flavor, this dish is sure to soothe the soul.

Typical in Vietnamese households, this dish is notoriously difficult for kids to eat. Parents would then, of course, encourage their kids to eat it because of its health benefits. However, most people who grew up eating this dish have learned to appreciate and even crave the comfort and nostalgia that it provides to the senses.

While the dish is gaining more popularity across more regions in Vietnam, it is special to the Southern region people. The Vietnamese name for Bitter Melon is Khổ Qua, where Khổ means difficulty and suffering and Qua means to go away. Quite literally, it means “bitterness passed.” As a tradition, the people of the Southern region eat this soup during Tet, also known as the Vietnamese New Year, along with the wish that all the difficulties of the last year will be gone and welcoming the new year with more luck.

If you aren’t used to bitter melons, make sure to buy firm ones where the grooves and bumps aren’t too close to each other. While preparing the vegetable, remove as much of the white flesh and seeds as possible. These tips will help reduce the bitterness from the vegetable.

The bitter melon is an acquired taste, but do give this dish a try! It does a great job of counterbalancing the slightly bitter flavor with some sweetness from the filling while offering a delicious soup, especially with a serving of fragrant white rice.

-HOW TO-

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup- Ingredients 1

Soak the mung bean thread noodles in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water and set it aside. Then use kitchen scissors to cut the noodles into shorter threads.

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup - Step 3

  1. Cut the bitter melons crosswise with about 2 ½ inches length per piece. Then using a smaller, thinner knife, remove all the seeds and white flesh inside. Set aside.
  2.  In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the filling together. Mix well with a spoon until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Using a teaspoon, stuff the bitter melons with the filling. Set aside on a plate or bowl. If there’s excess filling, you can roll them up into tiny meatballs for the soup. 

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup - Step 4

In a medium-sized pot, add the ingredients for the soup. Adjust the seasoning according to taste. Some recipes even include sugar to taste. Bring the soup to a b000oil over high heat.

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup - Step 5

Add the stuffed bitter melons and lower the heat from the stove. Let this simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the bitter melons are tender.

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup - Step 6

Once the bitter melons are fork-tender, adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more water, fish sauce, or sugar according to taste.

Serve hot in a bowl and garnish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!

image of Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe

image of Stuffed Bittermelon Soup
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Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup (Canh Khổ Qua)

Canh Khổ Qua or Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup is a traditional Vietnamese dish that features a delicate balance between the slight bitterness from the bitter melon and the springy, savory sweetness from the carrots and meat in the filling. Rounded up with a delicious, warm soup with a comforting depth of flavor, this dish is sure to soothe the soul.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author tramvietnam

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 long bitter melons 7-8 inches long

For the Filling:

  • 500 grams ground pork
  • 100 grams mung bean noodles
  • 1/3 cup carrots shredded or grated
  • 1 cup rehydrated wood ear mushrooms sliced very thinly
  • ¼ cup shitake mushrooms julienned
  • 1-2 tsp of sugar or according to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp tbsp. fish sauce optional

For the Soup:

  • 3 cups chicken or pork broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ chicken bouillon cube optional
  • Sugar to taste (optional)

Garnish:

  • ½ tsp green onion finely chopped

Instructions

  • Ingredients:
  • 3-4 long bitter melons (7-8 inches long)
  • For the Filling:
  • 500 grams ground pork
  • 100 grams mung bean noodles
  • 1/3 cup carrots, shredded or grated
  • 1 cup rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, sliced very thinly
  • ¼ cup shitake mushrooms, julienned
  • 1-2 tsp of sugar (or according to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp tbsp. fish sauce (optional)
  • For the Soup:
  • 3 cups chicken or pork broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ chicken bouillon cube (optional)
  • Sugar, to taste (optional)
  • Garnish:
  • ½ tsp green onion, finely chopped

Notes

Nutrition Information:
  • Serving Size – 2 cups
  • Calories: 350 kcal 
  • Carbohydrates: 11g 
  • Protein: 21g 
  • Fat: 24g 
  • Saturated Fat: 9g 
  • Cholesterol: 82mg 
  • Sodium: 1546mg
  • Potassium: 645mg 
  • Fiber: 3g

image of Canh Khổ Qua or Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe

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