Clear Soup of Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Pork and Glass Noodles ต้มจืดมะระยัดไส้หมูสับ ; dtohm jeuut mara yat sai muu sap

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By: Hanuman

Bitter gourds have long been prized in Asia for a trait considered a defect in cucumbers: bitterness. We tend to believe that anything bitter is medicinal and, in this case, we could be correct. The bitter gourd is said to cure a wide range of ailments – from gastrointestinal conditions to cancers, and from diabetes to HIV.

Also known as bitter melons, bitter gourds are pale green, with an irregular, warty surface. Typically, they are eaten following an initial treatment to remove some of the bitterness; often they are stuffed, to complement their somewhat eccentric bite.

The soup I bring you today has an excellent balance of flavors, with the bitterness of the gourd lingering only as a closing resonance. It feels rather refreshing on the palate, clearing the taste buds for the next bite.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome this delightfully healthy and flavorful dish:  an outstanding clear soup of bitter gourd stuffed with pork and glass noodles.

Clear Soup of Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Pork and Glass Noodlesต้มจืดมะระยัดไส้หมูสับ ; dtohm jeuut mara yat sai muu sap
This soup has an excellent balance of flavors, with the bitterness of the gourd lingering only as a closing resonance. It feels rather refreshing on the palate, clearing the taste buds for the next bite.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4


  • 1 large bitter gourd
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 5-6 cups stock
  • 4-6 dry shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce

For the stuffing

  • 150 gr minced pork
  • 2 coriander roots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 50 gr dry glass noodles soaked in water and cut to 2.5cm (1″) length
  • 2 tablespoons carrots finely shredded

For the garnish

  • Coriander leaves
  • Ground white pepper


  • Cut the bitter gourd into 5cm (2″) length pieces.
  • With a spoon, remove the seeds and sprinkle them generously with salt. Leave for about 20 minutes, allowing the salt to draw out some of the bitterness.
  • Wash, and set aside.
  • In a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, coriander roots, white pepper, sugar and salt into a fine paste.
  • Mix the pork and the coriander-garlic paste, along with the softened rice vermicelli and the carrots; season with light soy sauce and oyster sauce. Mix well.
  • Stuff the bitter gourd pieces with pork filling. When the gourds are stuffed, tap them with your hands on both sides to secure the filling.
  • Bring the stock to boil, add the dry shiitake mushrooms, and place the stuffed bitter gourds in the pot.
  • Cook until the bitter gourds are soft.
  • Season with light soy sauce.
  • Serve in individual bowls; garnish with the coriander leaves and sprinkle white pepper to finish.
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16 comments… add one
  • Avatar Silni Wahlgren Mar 8, 2010, 1:59 am

    I LOVE bitter melon! My whole body feels great after I eat it. This looks like a wonderful recipe. Once the bitter melons are in season here I’m going to forget, for a day, that I am eating raw, vegan food and I’m going to make this dish. Looks fabulous. I like the way the stuffed bitter melon sits like an island in a lake of broth with mushrooms.

    • Avatar Hanuman Mar 8, 2010, 7:04 am

      Do you grow them yourself Silni? We do tend to eat them somewhat unripe…..

  • Avatar Julie Mar 8, 2010, 11:35 pm

    I love this soup! The technique of salting the bitter melon to remove the bitterness is very clever. Kinda like what you do to remove the unpleasantness of large aubergines, can’t believe I never thought of it. Where did you learn this trick?
    I also make this soup with cucumber. It’s a great side for the kao mun gai (Thai chicken & rice). I use a little bit of corn starch to dust the insides of the melon to help the pork mixture adhere to the melon. I like your site and will be visiting often :-)

    • Avatar Hanuman Mar 9, 2010, 10:27 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Julie and Yes, cucumber works nice for a refreshing soup to accompany kao mun gai.

      Beside salting the bitter melon as i do, you can blanch it for a minute or so in salt water as well.
      If you want to lower the bitterness to minimum than steam the stuffed bitters before adding it to the soup.

      i like it as i described. You might know that adding also stuffed squid is typical version of the dish ;-))

  • Avatar กะปุก Apr 3, 2010, 10:49 pm

    ตามมาอ่านจากพันทิบค่ะ คุณหนุมานทำอาหารน่ากินทุกอย่างเลย
    แต่ขอแก้ภาษาไทยให้นิดนึงนะคะ หวังว่าคงไม่ว่ากัน “ไส้” ไม่ใช่ “ใส้” ค่ะ

    • Avatar Hanuman Apr 4, 2010, 7:17 am

      opps… ;-) thank you!

  • Avatar mayathai Apr 21, 2010, 1:24 am

    You did it great and knew the tips with thai food………..I feel glad to know farrang like you
    Thank you for your concern in thai traditional.

  • Avatar emt training Apr 26, 2010, 1:26 pm

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  • Avatar joe Oct 20, 2010, 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the info

  • Avatar Natalia Jul 30, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Thanks so much for the great recipe. I made this for the first time today for my Thai husband. I didn’t have shitake mushrooms, so I used porcini, and used minced chicken instead of pork. He said it was delicious. He hadn’t had this dish for a very long time. (I am not Thai, and really appreciate websites such as yours for sharing your knowledge so others can also cook these great dishes).
    I didn’t try it, because I am vegetarian :)

  • Avatar Eva Aug 25, 2012, 11:07 pm


    I have four different recipes for gourd. I never heard of a gourd soup before, so I’m very happy to have discovered this recipe today. I’ve just been to an Asian supermarket in Chinatown yesterday and I bought three medium-sized gourds. Walking from stall to stall, I noticed that there were gourds that were so large measuring over twelve inches in length and the diameter of at least a sixteen fluid oz. water bottle. I didn’t know that gourds could grow so large – I never saw them that big before.

    Do you know if the taste and the bitterness is the same, or if it belongs to the same family, but just kept growing and growing? I guess I could have answered my own question by just buying one and cooking it. But, to tell you the truth, I was so intimidated by it.

    Anyway, to get the excess bitterness of the gourd, I soak it in cold water with salt for fifteen minutes, then rinse it a couple of times. I found out that if I soak it longer than fifteen minutes, all the bitterness disappears and the taste is bland, and I don’t like it one bit.

    I will cook the soup today while the gourds are still fresh and green. Once, I forgot them in the refrigerator for a few days and they ripened.

    Thank you.


    • Avatar Hanuman Aug 27, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Eva, I believe the bitterness varies among the different varieties. but the size of groud you describe sounds suitable for this dish, its the tiny one that have a shocking bitter taste. the bigger they get the more pleasant the taste is. happy experimenting, hanuman

  • Avatar Eva Aug 28, 2012, 2:46 am

    Thanks, Hanuman. Now, I feel a lot better knowing this. I will start buying those large gourds from now on and cook them in so many different ways. I have been eating a lot of gourds during the last month and a half; I eat them at least two or three times a week. The reason, actually, is for nutritional and medicinal properties of this precious vegetable.

    During the last two years, I’ve had a very stressful life. As a result, I neglected my health and gained so much weight. It just crept up without me even really noticing it. I also did not see my doctor during those two years. They called me at home and told
    me to make an appointment for the check-up. They also faxed me prescription for a complete blood work.

    Last July 1st, the doctor informed me that a have a very high cholesterol count. I never had this problem before, so I knew it was my neglect that led me to this. Immediately, that same day, I took a course of action to change my diet – and not just temporarily but for the rest of my life. I knew that I started eating an excessive amount of rice and pasta during those two years. I also ate all kinds of bread, including Indian and Persian – both very high in cholesterol and fat. And to top it all off, I also started eating ice cream almost on a daily basis…for two years! So, these were the things that I immediately eliminated from my diet. I researched on the vegetables that will provide me with the best medicinal and nutritional value, and gourd is one of them. I now eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks of fruits or nuts between meals. I never allow myself to go hungry, for fear that I will grab a chocolate bar or cookie just to fill me up.

    At the end of July, I weighed myself and discovered that I lost seventeen pounds. This morning, I got on the scale again and found out that from July 1st to this morning, I lost twenty-five pounds. I am hoping that in another two or three months, I would be back to my normal weight. This would be the best prevention that, as far as I know, would put me far away from contracting diabetes or heart diseases. Almost all the medical journals and books on health management say that these diseases start with uncontrollable weight gain.

    Hanuman, I want to thank you so much for sharing recipes that are both delicious and nutritious. You incorporate so many spices, herbs and vegetables in your cooking that give them their unique taste, making them truly enjoyable to eat.


    • Avatar Hanuman Sep 5, 2012, 10:39 pm

      i am glad to hear that you are on the right track. diet is not about suffering but eating well! happy you find my blog helpful!

  • Avatar Kenneth Dec 1, 2017, 9:37 am

    Hi my wife fell in love with this dish when visiting Bangkok a few years back. However she can’t remember where she had it. Would appreciate if anyone can recommend me a place in Bangkok where I can find this? Thanks in advance!

    • Hanuman Hanuman Dec 6, 2017, 7:26 am

      any decent khao tom style restaurant (ร้านข้าวต้ม) should have it ready in the steamer.

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