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Stuffed Bitter Melon Tom Yum Soup

Bitter Melon which is called ma ra in Thai is a very healthy versatile vegetable. Some say it is an acquired taste, but we love it. I blanche slices of bitter melon in salted water as this removes much of the bitterness, and add to soups and curries at the last. The riper a bitter melon is IE pale green or yellowish the less bitter it will be. Do not blanche or cook very long as it will become mushy.

It is believed bitter melon helps regulate diabetics need for insulin and recent studies say bitter melon concentrate may help prevent breast cancer. Bitter melon is rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids, which are good for your health. Bitter melon is also recommended for those with liver disease.

Bitter melon is wonderful in curries-just add the precooked bitter melon the last few minutes. I also really enjoy bitter melon in soups and sliced raw in salads.

Stuffed Bitter Melon Spicy Soup (Tom Yum Mara)

Ingredients
3 medium sized bitter melons (mara) (about 1 1/2 pound total weight)
3 ounces ground lean pork or chicken
3 ounces shelled, deveined shrimp, Ό” dice
11/2” piece of lemongrass, outer leaves removed, thinly sliced and pounded to a paste
1 medium white onion, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium tomato, cut into bite size pieces, discard seeds
Straw mushrooms ( 16 ounce can drained whole mushrooms)*
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Thai chile, minced
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp fish sauce
4 cups Tom Yum Broth

Garnish with Cilantro leaves
Serve dinners Lime wedges and Fish Sauce to adjust flavours to their taste

Method
Cut the melon in 1” high rounds, using a teaspoon remove the seeds. Blanche in salted water, drain, sit aside.

Mix garlic, chiles, fish sauce, lemongrass paste, and white pepper with ground meat and diced shrimp until thoroughly combined.

Stuff the hollowed out melon with the meat-shrimp mixture. . Do not over-stuff the melon. The melon seems to shrink more than the meat-shrimp mixture when it is all cooked.

Add straw mushrooms and onion to the boiling stock. Place the stuffed melon pieces into the Tom Yum broth, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. When the melon turns a little yellowy green and soft, it is ready. Serve hot with rice. Add the tomatoes and simmer just to warm the tomatoes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove stuffed cooked bitter melon and arrange in shallow soup bowls, then add the mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes and broth to each bowl.

Garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with steamed Jasmine rice.
6 Servings

*Fresh white mushrooms cut in half can be used if straw mushrooms aren’t available

Notes: I like to use a large deep skillet to simmer the bitter melon rounds in the Tom Yum broth to maintain their integrity and keep the stuffing inside the bitter melon rounds.

Tom Broth cubes by Knorr or jarred Tom Yum paste is an easy to use short cut for the broth.

Lemongrass Paste comes in a tube in the produce section, another short cut. Some Asian markets carry frozen lemongrass cubes.

I like to add Kaffir Lime (bai magroot) leaves to the simmering Tom Yum broth for flavour and fragrance.
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1 pinch ground pepper

• 1 bitter melon
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1 pinch ground pepper
• 1/2 cup ground pork
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

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