Yen Can Cook ~ Bitter Gourd Soup with Pickled Mustard Green

Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is a tropical vine that belongs to the gourd family and is closely related to zucchini, squash, pumpkin, and cucumber. It is widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit. The fruit has a distinct warty exterior and an oblong shape.

Due to its pungent bitter taste, bitter gourd is not a particularly popular fruit in the eyes of the average consumer. However, there is no denying the fact that this “not-so-good-looking” fruit contains many nutrients that can be beneficial to our health. It has cooling properties which can help our body to combat heatiness especially when the weather is hot. It contains a wide variety of vitamins (C, A, E, B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-9), minerals (potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron), and antioxidants. It is also linked to lowering blood sugar, which some studies suggest means it can aid in diabetes treatment.

If you happen to be one of those who’s afraid of having this wonder veggie due to its bitter taste, let me share with you an easy trick to remove bitterness. First of all, remove the seeds and white pulp, cut into your desired shape. Then rub the bitter gourd with lots of salt and keep aside for 30 minutes before cooking. The salt helps to draw out the bitter juice from the fruit.

Of course there are several methods to reduce the bitterness of bitter gourd like scrape the rugged surface smooth, add some sugar dish before taking the dish off the heat, deep frying, soaking bitter gourd pieces in diluted yogurt before use, & etc. 

For today’s soup recipe, I combined pickled mustard green (Ham Choy咸菜) and tomato with bitter gourd, which can effectively masked the bitterness of the fruit. The soup was nicely infused with appetizing sourness from the pickled mustard green and tanginess of the tomato. It’s definitely a keeper!

Ingredients (Serve: 3-4)

1 bitter gourd 

500g pork ribs

2 tomatoes, halved or quartered

100g pickled mustard green, soaked in water for 10 minutes

2500ml water

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Step 1: Bring a pot of water to boil, add in a few ginger slices and 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, blanch the pork ribs to remove blood and impurities. Remove, drain and set aside.
Step 2: Cut the bitter gourd in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and white pulp. Cut into large chunks. 
Step 3: Rub the bitter gourd with lots of salt and keep aside for 30 minutes. Rinse with water and set aside.
Step 4: Put all the ingredients into a pot and add in water until enough to immerse all the ingredients. Bring to boil and lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 2-3 hours.
Note: I didn’t season the soup because the soup was flavourful enough. You may add salt as per desired. 

HAPPY COOKING!   #stayhealthy

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