Serving
(click to enlarge)

Pork Rib & Bitter Melon Soup
Thailand
   
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
6 soup  
***
1.75 hrs  
Yes

Soups combining pork and bitter melon are made throughout East and Southeast Asia by dozens of different recipes. This one is derived from several Thai recipes including some Chinese influence. Be aware that in Asia, developing a taste for bitter melon is considered a rite of passage.



1-1/2
ar
8
1
2
6
3
1
#


#
cl
c
T
T
Spare Ribs (1)
Water
Black Mushroom (2)  
Bitter Melon (3)
Garlic
Water
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce (4)
  1. Separate SPARE RIBS and chop into lengths no more than 2 inches (a razor sharp Chinese cleaver driven by a soft faced mallet is perfect for this). Put them in a pot, cover with plenty of water and bring to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse the ribs and wash the pot.
  2. Soak the MUSHROOMS in warm water for about 1/2 hour. Stem and quarter them. Set aside.
  3. Cut BITTER MELONS lengthwise into quarters, remove the seed mass and then cut them crosswise into peices about 1 inch long.
  4. Cursh GARLIC and chop medium.
  5. Put Spare Ribs, Mushrooms and Garlic in a soup pot with 6 c Water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add Bitter Melon and simmer another 15 minutes or until melon is tender.
  7. When ready to serve, stir in Soy Sauce and Fish Sauce, bring to a boil and turn off heat.
  8. Serve in individual bowls, a few ribs, some melon and mushrooms.
NOTES:
  1. Spare Ribs:   Weight is with all excess fat trimmed off. I prefer the parts with a lot of cartilage rather than bone for this long cooking recipe.
  2. Black Mushroom:   Also called "Forest Mushroom", these are actually dried shiitakis. For details see our Shiitake Mushrooms page. Some would have you add the soaking liquid to the stock but I consider that a bit overpowering - your choice.
  3. Bitter Melon:   [Bitter Gourd]   Use the smoother Chinese variety and select dark green ones about 6 inches long. For details see our Bitter Melon page.
  4. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. For details see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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