Kho Qua, a type of bitter squash, is a very popular squash in South Viet Nam. Though bitter, many Vietnamese loves the sweetness and the distinct flavor it brings to the dinner table. Besides tasting good, Vietnamese also believes eating kho qua can bring health benefits for your liver, lungs, and digestive system. There are many recipes for kho qua, unfortunately, the only one I know how to make well is soup. Enjoy!
Canh Kho Qua
2 big or 4 small bitter squash
1/2 lb of ground pork (or ground chicken)
1 large egg or 2 small eggs
4 cups of chicken both (or stock made from home)
4 cups of water
Nam Meo (dried black wood ear mushrooms found in Asian grocergy stores)
Bun Tau (dried clear vermicelli)
3 cloves of green onions (diced)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Soak mushrooms in warm water, once it expands and open up, chop into small pieces.
Soak clear vermichelli in water, once it expands, chop into small pieces.
Cut off ends of bitter squash to throw away. Cut the rest into 2-3 inch pieces, scoup out the middle and throw away, save only the skin.
In bowl, mix ground meat with eggs, mushroom, clear vermicelli, salt, black pepper, and 2/3 portion of green onions.
Stuff meat mixture into squash pieces, make sure you're not overstuffing. If there are meat left over, make into round meatballs.
Heat water and chicken broth in a pot to boiling on high heat.
Put in stuffed squash pieces and meatballs from above. Reduce heat to medium once water starts to boil again.
Continue to cook for around 15 mins. In the meantime, take a laddle to scoup out the scum (the brown bubble stuffs gathered on top of the pot) to throw away.
Once bitter squash begins to turn color (to a mossy green or yellowish green), soup is almost finished.
Put in fish sauce to taste, turn off heat, put in the rest of the green onions to garnish.
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