Guaythiew Gai Maraa (Chicken Noodle Soup with Bitter Melon)

Serves 4


For the Soup

  • 1 whole chicken (about 2-3 pounds), cut into pieces
  • 1 medium-sized bitter melon, cut into thin slices
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Noodles

  • 300 grams rice noodles (thin or wide as preferred)
  • Boiling water for cooking the noodles


  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh green onions, chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh bean sprouts
  • Sliced chili peppers (optional)


  1. Prepare the Chicken:
    • In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
    • Add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides.
  2. Make the Soup:
    • Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.
    • Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
    • Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Let the soup simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  3. Add the Bitter Melon:
    • While the soup is simmering, prepare the bitter melon by cutting it in half lengthwise, removing the seeds, and then slicing it thinly.
    • Add the sliced bitter melon to the soup and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the bitter melon is tender but not mushy.
  4. Cook the Noodles:
    • In a separate pot, bring water to a boil.
    • Add the rice noodles and cook according to the package instructions until they are just tender. Drain and set aside.
  5. Assemble the Soup:
    • Divide the cooked noodles among four bowls.
    • Ladle the hot chicken and bitter melon soup over the noodles.
    • Garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, and sliced chili peppers if using.
    • Serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the soup.


  • Bitter melon has a strong taste, so you can adjust the amount according to your preference.
  • You can also add other vegetables like mushrooms or baby corn for additional flavor and texture.
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