by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).
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#Soup, #bitter gourd, #Canh khố qua, #, #MSG, Soup of Bitter gourds infilled with pestled pork (Canh khố qua dồn thịt heo).
The dish is a very simple, non-odoured, delicious, healthy low priced watery soup dish in Vietnamese and Cantonese cuisine. One of its variations is soup of only bitter gourds slices.
Non-odored dish means a dish that does not make your body have its aroma (smell) after eating.
1. Bitter gourds have bitter taste, one of the most complex taste.
Human beings are able to sense at least five known elemental tastes (each of which cannot be reproduced by any combination of other tastes) they are sweetness (having high concentration of sugar), saltiness (having high concentration of NaCl), sourness (having high concentration of H30+ ions), savoriness (having high concentration of MSG !), and bitterness which is the most complex taste (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste).
Bitter gourds are the fruits of the herbaceous, tendril-bearing vines Momordica charantia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momordica_charantia).
Figure: Bittergourd vine (original file https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Momordica_charantia_Blanco2.357-original.png, the file is in the public domain in its country of origin).
Bitter gourds also have many other names in Vietnamese, they are Mướp đắng, Cẩm lệ chi, Lại Bồ Đào (Cứu Mang Bản Thảo), Hồng cô nương (Quần Phương Phổ), Lương Qua (Quảng Châu Thực Vật Chí), Lại qua (Dân Gian Thường Dụng Thảo Dược Hối Biên), Hồng dương (Tuyền Châu Bản Thảo) (https://amp.thaythuoccuaban.com/vithuoc/khoqua.htm).
Bitter gourds are very bitter. The bitterness is caused by a tetracyclic triterpenoid compound called cucurbitacin, which also makes cucumbers bitter.
2. Claimed beneficial effects.
Bitter gourds have a long list of nutrients.
A portion of 100g of cooked, boiled (without salt) , drained, bitter gourds pods contains (https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168394/nutrients):
Name Amount Unit Deriv. By
Water 93.95 g
Energy 19 kcal Calculated
Protein 0.84 g
Fiber, total dietary 2 g
Calcium, Ca 9 mg
Iron, Fe 0.38 mg
Magnesium, Mg 16 mg
Phosphorus, P 36 mg
Potassium, K 319 mg
Sodium, Na 6 mg
Zinc, Zn 0.77 mg
Copper, Cu 0.033 mg
Manganese, Mn 0.086 mg
Selenium, Se 0.2 µg Calculated from different food; From average values for food category; No adjustment; Retention factors not used
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 33 mg
Thiamin 0.051 mg
Riboflavin 0.053 mg
Niacin 0.28 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.193 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.041 mg
Folate, total 51 µg
Folate, food 51 µg
Folate, DFE 51 µg Calculated
Choline, total 10.8 mg Based on another form of the food or similar food; Concentration adjustment; Solids; Retention factors not used
Vitamin A, RAE 6 µg Calculated
Carotene, beta 68 µg Other procedure used from imputing
Vitamin A, IU 113 IU Calculated
Lutein + zeaxanthin 1323 µg Based on another form of the food or similar food; Concentration adjustment; Solids; Retention factors not used
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.14 mg Based on another form of the food or similar food; Concentration adjustment; Solids; Retention factors not used
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 4.8 µg Based on another form of the food or similar food; Concentration adjustment; Solids; Retention factors not used
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.014 g
So various effects can be expected from bittergourds.
Bitter gourds are claimed by Vietnamese and Chinese traditional medicine to be effective in treating high blood pressure and diabetes (https://nhungmonthuocquy.blogspot.com/2009/03/vi-thuoc-kho-qua.html?m=1) (https://khoquarung.net/cong-dung-cua-kho-qua-rung-co-tac-dung-gi).
Consumption of large amount (6ml/kg of body weight) of bitter gourds may be deadly (Uống 15-40ml/kg cơ thểthì sau6-18 giờ sẽ chết, Uống 6ml/kg cơ thể thì 80-90% sau 5-23 ngày thì chết (Trung Dược Đại Từ Điển), https://amp.thaythuoccuaban.com/vithuoc/khoqua.htm).
Bitter gourds may be harmful to pregnant women (Cho chuột có thai uống 6ml/Kg cơ thểcó thể làm cho tử cung ra máu, sau đó ít giờ thì chết, https://amp.thaythuoccuaban.com/vithuoc/khoqua.htm)
Bitter gourds should be mixed with a lot of ginger when consumed by people with weak digestion otherwise bittergourds may cause stomach ache and diarrhea in them (Người tỳ vị hư hàn, ăn Khổ qua sẽ bị thổ tả, bụng đau(Trấn Nam Bản Thảo), https://amp.thaythuoccuaban.com/vithuoc/khoqua.htm )
Figure: Soup of Bitter gourds infilled with pestled pork (Canh khố qua dồn thịt heo).
Open up bitter gourds longitudinally and remove all the seeds, they are the most bitter parts of the fruits. Soak the opened gourds in salt (NaCl) solution for half an hour to reduce their bitter taste. Fill the gourds with pestled pork. You may optionally tie up individual gourds by long leaves of chives to hide the longitudinal cuts.Cook the the gourds with infill of pestled pork in simmering water in a glass pot for half and hour.Place gourds into individual bowls, add parsley to the bowls.
The dish is ready to serve.
NOTE: Glass or ceramic cook pots do not interfere with the taste of the soup.
Figure: Raw bitter gourds (Vietnamese/Chinese variety)
a- Raw green bitter gourds (Momordica charantia), of Chinese/Vietnamese variety are sold at around $4 AUD per kilogram. Each bitter gourd may weigh about 500g. The fruit has a distinct warty exterior (Chinese/Vietnamese variety is less warty than Indian variety) and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large, flat seeds and pith. A green fruit’s flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, similar to cucumber but bitter. The skin is tender and edible. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits; to be removed before cooking.
b- Pork, to be chopped and pestled.
e- Ginger (optional, for serving bitter gourds to people with weak digestion).
All benefits discussed here are only for bitter gourds prepared WITHOUT monosodium glutamate. Current trend of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants is to heavily lace all food in Mono sodium glutamate which may cause problems to your health.
Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) changes the taste of this soup. Unprofessional cooks using non-authentic recipes may put in a lot of mono-sodium glutamate to fool customers. Traditional, authentic recipes have no such modern ingredient. Soup with MSG is watery, with little vegetable and little pork .
In the short term, mono-sodium glutamate may cause extreme headache, throat congestion, prolong thirst and swelling of your ankles and feet. Do NOT eat any non-authentic dish prepared with such ingredient.
6. Where to find it?
It is an inexpensive, common favorite dish (costing 30000VND =$1:50 US in 2018) in Vietnam (in Saigon).
I don’t know how much it would cost in a Vietnamese restaurant outside Vietnam.
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