Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon

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I remember a vietnamese friend of mine who made a pork stuffed Bitter Melon Soup.  I love the taste of that soup so I have the craving to make some, specially that my Bitter Melon plant had produced enough fruits due for harvesting.

Warning:   If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, or breast feeding, please, please don’t consume this fruit.  For those who have never eaten this fruit before, just be cautious and or totally avoid it. Negative reaction upon ingestion had been cited in some articles that I read here in the U.S.

The fruits and leaves of Bitter Melon are commonly eaten in most Asian countries.  It is shuned or feared in the U.S. due to inconclusive research done by a lot of pharmaceutical companies.  The possible inconclusive benefits such as anticancer, antidiabetic, antiparasitic effect etc. are overshadowed by the plant’s abortifacient and other teratogenic effects.  It is ironic that countries whose populations eat the fruit or other part of the plants  produce more children.

Ingredients I used

Meat Stuffing

1/4 tsp basil

1/4tsp parsley

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic – minced

!/4 cup onion – diced fine.

1 oz rice Vermicilli – soaked for 10 minutes then cut in 2 to 3-inch long strands.

1/8 tsp salt or more if more fluid is added.

1 oz black olive – sliced and drained

1 egg

1/4 lb ground pork or chicken

1 large bitter melon or 2 to 3 small ones.

 

Soup

2 cups water

1 cup chicken broth or chicken bone broth

Green onions – chopped.

Preparation

Slit Bitter Melon lengthwise without cutting the middle part of the other side of the melon.  Cut a 1 inch slit at both ends of the other side just enough to pry open the melon. Remove the pulp and seeds with the use of teaspoon or its end.  Set aside.  Beat the egg until eggwhite and eggyolk are well blended.  Set aside.  On a medium size

Place the meat in small mixing bowl and sprinkle it with one of the spices.  Using your hand, mix the spice into the meat thoroughly.   Repeat the same process for each remaining seasoning or spice until all of them are used.

Add the drained Vermicille noodle, black olive, salt  and egg to the mixture.  Mix thoroughly.  Stuff the mixture inside the Bitter Melon.  Do not pack the stuffing mixture too full inside the bitter melon as the rice vermiccilli will expand.  Use a cooking cotton cord to tie and close the bittermelon shut at both ends and middle.

If there is extra stuffing, shape them into balls and add to the soup

Making The Soup

Place the stuffed Bitter Melon in a  kettle big enough to accomodate all ingedients.  Add the  2 cups water and the 1 cup chicken broth.  Place the Kettle on stove top and turn heat on high setting.  Cover the kettle until liquid start to boil.  Let lid vent so fluid will not overflow.  Cook until bitter melon and meat are done about 45 mins.

When meat and Bitter Melon are well done, add the green onions and turn off the heat.  Cover completely for 10 mins to cook the green onions.  If a big Bitter Melon is used in the recipe, cut it across in 3 to 4 serving portions.  Serve warm.

The soup is good for 3 to 4 people.

 

 

Gardening In The City – I

It is good to know that even if we live in a condo facility I can still garden.  However most of my plants are in containers.  The Condo facility where we live allow an individual homeowner to garden in a limited space behind the home, as long as it’s taken care of by the homeowner.   Home owners are also allowed to use flower pots placed in entry way only so that it does not get in the way of maintaining/landscaping the front yard.  Below are photos of my garden this year.

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The plant climbing on a trellis is a Bittermelon (Ampalaya, in Tagalog; Amargoso, in Bicol dialect).  As the name implies, the fruit is bitter but it has lots of medicinal value such as to fight or prevent diabetes and cancer.  The leaves are lacy and beautiful.  It is easy to control and train to stay only in areas where you want the vine to stay.  You simply guide the plant towards the area where you want it to cling.  If it clings to forbidden area, just pinch the tendril or clinger and move the vine away.  It will cling to anything on its path but the good thing is that it is easy to redirect the errant branch.

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The Bittermelon bears both male and female flowers in the same plant.  Above photo shows the front view of male yellow flower.  It has yellow orange anther which holds the pollens.

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The above photo shows the side view of the male flower.  It does not have a fruit nodule at the base of the flower as compared to the female flower.

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The above photo shows the female flower which has closed, I assume, after having been pollinated and ready to develop the fruit at its base.

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The above photo shows the immature fruit.

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The above photo shows the mature fruit.

It is good to note that there are several varieties of this plant that bears fruit in varying sizes depending on the variety.  The above plant bears a medium size fruit ranging from 4-inch to 6-inch in length.  The size is also affected by how rich the soil that the plant is planted in.

My favorite seed source for Asian Vegetable seeds: Kitazawa Seeds Company