Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

Bitter melon (Mras) in Kean Svay market

Bitter melon or bitter gourd is very popular in almost Asian cuisines. With the innovation of skillful housewives, bitter melon can be cooked into different favorite dishes. Bitter melon is a kind of common vegetable growing in Cambodia. It’s growing for fruits, but the young leaf is also edible. Cambodian eat raw bitter melon as other vegetables like cucumber, green tomato, eggplant, long bean with their special food Prohok. Besides, there are also dishes of stir fried and soup made of bitter melon. The young bitter melon leaf is very popular for Samlor Korko, a Khmer soup made of many kinds of vegetables.

Stuffed bitter melon soup is a common soup dish for Cambodian families. For countryside Cambodian, it’s considered special and has been chosen to be the ‘offering food’ for monks at the pagodas during Pchum Ben Day (Ancestor Day).


Pork and Bitter Melon before stuffing

– 2 bitter melon: there are two various kinds of bitter melon. Chinese bitter melon with big and long fruit, the color is light green and less wrinkles, usually it’s less bitter. Khmer bitter melon is shorter fruit, the color is darker and more wrinkles, this represents the bitter taste is stronger. Depend on how much bitter you like, to choose which type for your soup. After you have got your bitter melon, cut both ends off and slice it into sections, each about 6-7cm in length. Then scoop out the seeds and the white fluff part, leaving a big hole inside. Wash and drain.

Bitter Melon is stuffed with pork

– 250g of pork and 50g of dried shrimp: after cleaned and drained, the pork and dried shrimp must be minced together, then add 1 tbsp sugar, 3/4 tbsp salt, 3/4 tbsp ground black pepper, 1 glove minced garlic, then mix them well together.

– 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce for tasting the soup.

– Spring onion leaves for top up.


– Stuff each section of the bitter melon with the pork, just fill the hole tight enough.

Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

– Now start your fire with a pot containing about 1 litter of water. When the water is about to boil, add the stuffed bitter melon and 1 tbsp of fish sauce. Continue to boil for about 30 minutes, when the bitter melon turn soft and has a yellowy color, add 1 tbsp of fish sauce and sugar, then taste.

Stuffed bitter melon soup tastes good today and even better tomorrow. It’s great either serving hot or cool. My mom cooks this soup for lunch, but it’s usually taste better for dinner. My sister like the soup very much, she even drink the soup water. So it should be cooked with more water, if you like the soup water too.

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