Winter Melon Recipes

View All | View Summaries
Canh Kho Qua (Bitter Melon Soup Recipe) Recipe

Khổ qua ("bitter melon" in English) is a truly unique vegetable. Its warty, pale-green color could scare even a veteran foodie away. However, it’s actually a very forgiving and versatile veggie! In Vietnamese cuisine, it's often served with pork or shrimp; I filled it with soybean stuffing instead to imitate the meat and served the bitter melons in canh (Vietnamese broth).

I love this dish because it's so flavorful and the texture of the soybeans is dense and very similar to meat. I also flavored the filling with fresh wood ear mushrooms for a more meaty texture. If you're trying this dish for the first time, I have to warn you that bitter melon, as its name indicates is, well, bitter. But really, you have to try it at least once. It's a love-it or hate-it kind of vegetable, but who knows, my might get struck by Cupid's arrow!


Full Recipe...
Tofu Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua Nhun Tau Hu) Recipe

Khổ qua nhưn tàu hũ, tofu stuffed bitter melon is similar to dishes you might have seen at Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants. The difference is that it's usually shrimp paste instead of tofu (tàu hũ) and eggplant or button mushrooms in place of the bittermelon, called cà tím nhưn tôm ("eggplants with shrimp paste" in Vietnamese). I made my own blend of ground tofu paste with fried tofu and vegetarian ham to resemble the color of shrimp paste. I then stuffed the mixture into the bittermelon rounds and steamed the vegetables. For more flavor, I pan-fried the tofu filling then braised the dumplings in sweet pineapple hoisin sauce.

I love this dish because it's so flavorful and the texture of the tofu is very similar to meat. My husband Lulu, who’s a vegetarian, really likes it even though he isn’t into meat substitutes. It just proves that there’s more to vegetarian and vegan cooking than just silken and firm tofu!


Full Recipe...
Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua) Recipe

Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua)

01.12.10 by Jackie

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. 

From Wikipedia:

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...