Bitter melon (khổ qua in Vietnamese) is a part of many cultures and cuisines. In India, deep fried bitter melon rings (karela) are a common dish. Vietnamese people use the smoother variety of bitter melon, and the vegetable is often prepared steamed or in a broth. In this particular preparation, I filled the bitter melon with tofu, bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms, but you could definitely use chicken or pork. I typically pair mine with rice, but you can also serve a simple vegetable broth if you prefer.
This dish is usually cooked for the Tết holiday as its name: "bitter" reminds people not to forget or disrespect the poor living condition experienced in the past.
Eating shouldn't be a chore, so if you're a little put off by the description, I understand. The taste is very unusual but I think this dish really does taste great though, so I urge you to give it a try. Full Recipe...