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Bitter Melon Soup (Easy One Pot)

Last Updated on October 10, 2023

Bitter Melon Soup is one of the healthiest soups you can eat! Bitter melon (Bitter gourd) is a superfood although the name doesn’t sound very appetizing.

This recipe is an “all-dump-in” one-pot method. You will be surprised at how well the pineapples balance out the bitterness of the melon. This soup will change your impression of bitter melons.

a bowl of bitter melon soup

Bitter Melon Soup

Bitter melon is a tropical fruit that resembles a cucumber. It’s typically green in color, yet when it’s fully ripened, it turns whitish orange. It is a popular ingredient in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean cuisines.

a spoonful bitter melon soup

As the name suggests, Bitter Melon has a bitter taste that pairs well with salty fats and other meats like Vietnamese bitter melon soup with stuffing.

However, in this Chinese-style bitter melon soup recipe, I decided to sweeten it up whilst not straying too far from tradition.

Bitter Melon Types

Global popularity has led to many types of Bitter melons like Indian Bitter Melon, Asian Bitter Melon, and Green Bitter Melon.

The bitter melon is also known as the bitter gourd, which is part of the same family as zucchini, squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Don’t confuse this with Ivy gourd, which is a different plant.

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is a vine originally from India and other Asian countries. Each has distinct differences, which makes every dish unique!

For example, dishes with Asian Bitter Melons are lighter in color and have smoother exterior skin. Indian Bitter Melons are darker in color and have a rougher surface to the touch.

East or Southeast-Asian bitter melon
Indian bitter melon

Indian Bitter Gourd- The taste of Indian melon is also sharper than other varieties. It is a fan favorite in Indian cuisine and uses melon alongside turmeric.

Asian Bitter Melon is used in many popular dishes such as Bitter Melon Stir Fry, Filipino Pinakbet, and Japanese Goya Champuru.

All three take the bitterness of the melon and dress it up with protein, veggies, and spices. Here is where I wanted our bitter melon soup recipe to deviate.

Adding pineapples and maple syrup to vegetable broth gives the soup a sweet kick without overpowering the tofu and other seasonings.

Bitter Melon Benefits


Apart from being wickedly soul-warming, bitter melon soup boasts unmatched health benefits!

Bitter melon benefits include being a holistic treatment for diabetes, and infections and a glucose stabilizer. There is a link between bitter melon and lowering blood sugar levels.

Due to its insulin-like properties, bitter melon helps bring glucose to cells for energy (you can check the source Bitter Melon and Diabetes from Healthline.com).

There is also plenty of research that supports bitter melon for diabetes treatment and detox. Due to its low glycemic index and antioxidants, Bitter melon helps stabilize the blood sugar- preventing high sugar spikes that lead to insulin resistance.

Its track record for preventing severe illness makes bitter melon good for patients with high fevers and the flu. All of this inside a tiny cucumber lookalike! Now, you can see why it’s a worldwide favorite.

If you’re wondering about the Bitter Melon calories, 1 cup of it contains just 24 calories and less than 7 carbs! This means you can eat 2 palm-size bitter melons and still be within the low-carb keto net goals.

bitter melon recipe

Where to buy

International Farmer’s Markets and Asian grocery stores are the places to go when searching for Bitter Melon. In the West, it has not gained much traction to be placed in regular supermarkets.

TVP, however, you can find it in supermarkets, health food stores, and farmer’s markets. Or you can try brands like Nutrela, Soya-G, and Morning Star have many suitable substitutes.

My One-Pot Easy Recipe

I decided to add TVP chunks and pineapple to draw the meal out of the side dish category and make it a standalone meal. TVP chunks are thick pieces of dehydrated tofu.

It stands for ‘Textured Vegetable Protein’ and are soy-based chunks that can soak up many seasonings easily. TVP chunks are vegan, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free and add to the health factor of Bitter Melon.

bitter melon recipe

Chinese bitter melon Soup is a straightforward recipe including chunks of bitter melon, protein, veggie broth, soy sauce, and salt, brought to a rolling boil in a large pot.

Our recipe takes this and adds soy and maple syrup sauce, pineapples, and sesame oil for a change of pace.

How to make

The soup will be ready on the dining table in under 30 minutes! 

how to make bitter melon soup
  1. Wash and dry the bitter melon then cut it open. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and the white part.
  2. Slice the bitter melon up around ½ inch thick pieces.
  3. Place bitter melon slices, TVP chunks (if you sub for tofu, you need to add tofu at the end then cook for another 3-4 minutes), canned pineapple dice and juice, veggie broth, light soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in a pot. Put the lid on, and let it simmer on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes.
  4. Taste after 25 minutes to see if you need more salt. Serve hot and garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
bitter-melon-recipe-soup

Hope you will like this hearty bitter melon soup! Don’t forget to rate the recipe or leave me a comment. I love to hear from you!

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FAQ

Q: What does a bitter melon taste like?

A bitter melon is a type of cucumber that tastes, well, bitter. It’s often used in Asian cuisine and can be found in Chinese and Indian dishes.

If you’ve never had a bitter melon before, it might not be what you’re expecting.

Q: Can you buy bitter melon in the US?

Yes, you can purchase bitter melon in the United States. It is available across the U.S. and Mexico throughout the year.

MORE VEGAN ASIAN RECIPES

More Comforting Soup Recipes

a bowl of bitter melon soup

Bitter Melon Soup with Pineapple

Bitter Melon Soup is one of the healthiest soups you can eat! Bitter melon (Bitter gourd) is a superfood although the name doesn't sound very appetizing. This recipe is an "all-dump-in" one-pot method. You will be surprised at how well the pineapples balance out the bitterness of the melon. This soup will change your impression of bitter melons.
5 from 24 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 174kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz Bitter Melon approx. 100 grams
  • ½ cup Canned Pineapple diced, (canned pineapple only)
  • ½ cup Canned Pineapple Juice
  • 3 cup Vegetable Broth low-sodium
  • ½ cup TVP chucks or diced tofu
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup or 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp Sesame Oil
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • tsp Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Wash and dry bitter melon then cut it open. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and the white part.
  • Slice the bitter melon up around ½ inch thick pieces.
  • Place bitter melon slices, tvp chunks (if you sub for tofu, you need to add tofu at the end then cook for another 3-4 minutes), canned pineapple dices and juice, veggie broth, light soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in a pot. Put the lid on, and let it simmer on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes.
  • Taste after 25 minutes to see if more salt is needed. Serve hot and garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serve | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2210mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1030IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg

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