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Thai Pork-Filled Ampalaya Soup – Instant Pot

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It is the middle of summer and yet it’s been raining hard. So, I did not hesitate to make this Thai Pork-Filled Ampalaya Soup, each segment stuffed with a mound of ground pork. I like this soup dish a lot because its flavors remind me of most Filipino dishes. The pork stuffing was seasoned with rice wine and soy sauce. Then the stuffed vegetable pieces were dropped into the briskly boiling clear vegetable broth. The aroma of the light, yet hearty broth filled the air. Soup was on and we couldn’t wait.

If you’ve never had bitter melon or ampalaya as Filipinos call it, then now is a good time to try it. My parents used to serve this vegetable weekly when I was growing up. Don’t be fooled by the word “bitter” in the vegetable’s name. The flavor is an acquired taste. True, biting into the vegetable slices you sense a slight bitterness. But as you go on, there is a hint of sweetness to the firm texture that reminds you of a gourd or squash. It makes more sense to pay attention to the vegetables various nutritional and health benefits when enjoying it at the table.

I was inspired to make this soup meal at home after we had it at a Thai restaurant. The restaurant’s soup was spiked with chilies, though. I decided to tone down the spicy notes so my homecooked version omitted the spice. And because I was in a rush to get dinner ready, I used my new favorite kitchen appliance, the Instant Pot. Like an assistant cook, this efficient multi-cooker did all the work for me after I dropped all the ingredients in the broth. In minutes, dinner was ready when the Instant Pot’s beep sounded. I carefully lifted the lid after releasing the sealing valve. The savory aroma of the clear broth flew up into the air in an instant. I ladled the stuffed ampalaya segments swirling around the broth in individual bowls. The strong rains outside our window were relentless and I could hear the heavy droplets on our rooftop. But the piping-hot bowls of soup on the table were soothing and comforting. You can’t complain when the meal is this good.

Thai Pork-Filled Ampalaya Soup - Instant Pot

This Thai Pork-Filled Ampalaya-Bitter Melon Soup is a beautiful vegetable-meat combination that is a meal in itself.  ‘Ampalaya is how Filipinos call the bitter melon. Prepare the ground pork stuffing with rice wine and soy sauce. Stuff the ampalaya slices and drop them into boiling broth. When it’s cooked, you can enjoy the soupy vegetable-pork dish over rice. This is a recipe that's good for any day of the week. This is an Asian in America recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino.
The recipe below offers two options: cooking in an Instant Pot or stove-top. Cooking time indicated below is for the Instant Pot
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time33 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino, Thai
Keyword: Thai Pork Filled Ampalaya Soup
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 361kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large Stockpot for stovetop cooking
  • Instant Pot multicooker; 6 to 8 quarts


  • 1 -2 whole medium to large ampalaya (bitter melon) sliced, seeds and white membrane removed
  • 1/2 pound ground pork; for filling
  • 1 Tablespoon shao xing rice wine; for pork filling
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce; for pork filling
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 whole onion; chopped
  • 2 teaspoons patis (fish sauce)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • for serving: steamed rice


  • To cook in the Instant Pot: (option 1)
  • Wash the ampalaya and slice in 1/2 inch-sized pieces. Using a small, sharp knife remove and discard the white membrane with the seeds in the center. Set aside the ampalaya slices.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients: pork, rice wine, soy sauce. Mix well. Stuff the center of the ampalaya pieces with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pork filling. Set aside the meat-filled ampalaya slices.
  • Preheat the Instant Pot by selecting Saute.
  • After 1 to 2 minutes, when the inside pot becomes hot, add the garlic and onions. Saute till garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent in about 2 minutes. Add the patis (fish sauce) to the mixture.
  • Click Cancel to turn off the Saute function.
  • Pour the vegetable broth into the inside pot. Add the stuffed ampalaya slices. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Secure the lid of the Instant Pot. Check that the release valve is set to Sealing.
  • Select Manual and cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes.
  • When the Instant Pot whistle signals that cooking is complete, use a quick release.
  • Carefully open the lid. Stir soup gently. Ladle into individual bowls and serve warm with rice.
  • Note:After the initial Saute, it takes about 17 to 20 minutes for the Instant Pot to pre-heat before the High Pressure cooking time begins.
  • To cook stove-top: (option 2)
  • Wash and slice the ampalaya into 1/2-inch sized pieces. With a small knife, remove and discard the inner white membrane which has the seeds. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground pork, soy sauce and rice wine.
  •  Stuff each ampalaya segment with approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of the ground meat mixture.  Set aside.
  • In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, place the vegetable oil. Saute the garlic, onions and patis.
  • Add the vegetable broth. Cove and let the broth to boil.
  • Into the boiling broth, drop the stuffed ampalaya slices. Season with  salt and pepper. Cook for 16 to 18 minutes or till vegetable turns a light green-yellow hue and softens. Serve piping hot in individual soup bowls.
  • Cook's comments:  
    If preferred, ground beef is also a good substitute for pork in this recipe.
  • Hello, Friends! Do not plagiarize or lift my recipes and photos without permission. All the images and content here are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to use my photos or content on your website, videos, TV programs, cookbooks, media content  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Serving: 100g | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 5411mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2012IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker PotBuy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com – sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Disclosure: Instant Pot is a registered trademark of the Instant Pot Company which is not associated with this blog. I was not paid to review or endorse the brand and products used. 

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog,  my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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