Double boiling is a preferred cooking method when it comes to soup in the Chinese kitchen. The idea is to “gently” cook the ingredients so that they can release all the good stuff and flavor to the soup.
The soup is usually cooked in “indirect” heat. It usually take a longer time compare to usual cooking method like boiling. But when it’s done, you will be rewarded with flavorful soup. If you don’t have double boiler, fret not, you can easily set one up if you have a large steamer.
If you never have bitter melon before, well, maybe you want to give it a try. I know the word bitter is not a favorite word to lots of people, including me. This soup doesn’t taste bitter if you are wondering. It has the mild amount of bitterness from the melon, but it is a very well- balanced soup by the savory taste of the soup too. It’s a very clean tasting and delicious soup.
I’ve always enjoyed bitter melon, especially when they are cooked in soup. Give it a try and you may find yourself liking this soup. My husband loves this soup and I don’t think he’s a big fan of bitter melon before.
- 1 lb pork ribs, trimmed into 2-inch pieces (ask your butcher to do this or you can use a cleaver to do this too)
- 5 shiitake mushrooms (soak in warm water until soft and then cut the stem off, cut in half)
- 1 large bitter melon
- 3 Tbsp of fermented bean paste (tau cheo)
- 1 bunch of coriander (roughly chopped the leaves and save the stems for the soup stock)
- 5 shallots (finely chopped)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Prepare a big pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add in the pork ribs and blanch briefly for about 1 minute. Discard the water
- Cut both tip of the bitter melon and then half. Scoop out the seeds and then cut into 3-inch pieces. Rub the pieces with salt and leave for 30 minutes. This will get rid of some of the bitterness
- If you have a double boiler, fill up the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile place the pork and bitter melon into the inset of the double boiler and then add in water until you cover everything. Add in the fermented bean paste, shallots, soy sauce, coriander stems, pinch of salt and sugar. Place the inset to the double boiler and double boil for the next 1½ to 2 hours, until the pork is really tender. You may need to add water to the pot if it gets low during cooking. If you are setting up your own double- boiler, fill up a large pot with lid with water, the water probably should come up to about 2 inches inside the pot. Put all the ingredients into a large glass bowl that is heat resistance and will fit into your pot. Bring the water into the pot to a boil, place the bowl in. Cover the pot with lid and cook for the next 1½ to 2 hours and add water to the pot as needed because the water will get low during such a long cooking time
- When ready to serve, sprinkle with some chopped coriander. Serve with rice as part of multi-course meal