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Winter Melon Shopping Tips
Staples of Asian cuisine such as ginger, daikon, rice vinegar, and spicy chile sauces like Sriracha add bright, fresh flavors without lots of fuss.
Winter Melon Cooking Tips
Sriracha has good heat but also has flavor - its mild sweetness comes from sun-ripened chile peppers as well as sugar and garlic.
Sri Lankan Alu Puhul Curry – Winter Melon Curry
Alu Puhul as we call in Sri Lanka or Winter Melon in English which is a fruit /vegetable which gives a delicious curry when we cook it with Sri Lankan spices. That is why I want to share this alu puhul curry recipe (Winter Melon Curry/Ash gourd curry) with you all because although this curry is delicious and creamy, sometimes we forget to cook it. Instead, our everyday meal is prepared with most common vegetables.
With natural cooling properties, winter melon is good for human body in many ways including clearing the toxins. Check this winter melon drink recipe if you like more winter melon recipes.
Now before reading further, I want to know about your idea on winter melon curry. Have you cooked this before or have you tasted winter melon in a curry? But I know one thing. If you are a Sri Lankan, then sure you like Puhul Dosi (the sweet toffee made of winter melon.) Puhul Dosi is too sweet, but I will not refuse a piece or two if someone offers me!
If you haven’t tried Alu Puhul curry (Sri Lankan Winter Melon curry), then make sure to buy winter melon in your next visit to buy vegetables. I only use green chili when preparing this curry, so the appearance is bit yellowish or white. It tastes creamy with added coconut milk, but it also spicy with blends of garlic and pepper.
Officially this is going to be my first post for 2016.I hope to be bit organized this year. With a too active toddler at home, my cooking is limited to everyday curries. But I still try to keep Food Corner updated with new and different Sri Lankan recipes which you can try easily.
So, here is the winter melon curry recipe.Please let me know the outcome if you try it.
Get funky with those cookie cutters.
Sunday supper showstopper. You'll never want winter to end.
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.
Winter melons have neutral flesh that readily absorbs accompanying flavors, best suited for cooked applications such as steaming, stir-frying, simmering, and braising. The skin is inedible and is typically discarded, but sometimes the melons are hollowed and used as a decorative serving bowl. The seeds are also removed from the flesh before cooking, but they are edible once cooked and can be roasted or fried as a crunchy snack. Once trimmed and deseeded, Winter melons can be sliced or cubed into smaller pieces and are commonly incorporated into soups, curries, and stews. The flesh is also stir-fried with robust spices and herbs, or it is stuffed with meat and cooked, mixed into casseroles, used as a substitute for zucchini, or quick-pickled for a tangy flavor. In addition to savory dishes, Winter melons are blended into smoothies or juices and are combined with sweet fruits, lemon, salt, and pepper, or the flesh is simmered with sugar to create a syrup that is popularly incorporated into tea. Winter melons are also used as a filling in cakes, pastries, and pies, or they are cooked into candy. Winter melon pairs well with watermelon, savory meats such as pork, chicken, duck, and ham, seafood, including shrimp and scallops, mushrooms, scallions, ginger, bamboo shoots, peas, and lentils. Whole Winter melons will keep for 3 to 5 months when stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Once sliced, the melon pieces will keep up to one week when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer. Peeled and raw Winter melon chunks can also be frozen for extended use.
4 Winter Melon Tea and Drink Recipes
Who doesn’t love tea? Because winter melon has such a subtle flavor and should be boiled before eating, many different cultures use this tasty fruit to make sweet and satisfying teas. Just as well, winter melon is a great ingredient to use in cocktails and shrubs. And if you’re crazy about bubble tea, winter melon is perfect for making latte and creamy tea beverages in autumn.
Barley and Candied Winter Melon Drink
When one thinks of barely in a beverage, beer and other heavy spirits tend to come to mind. However, barley can also be a refreshing ingredient to use in non-alcoholic beverages. This tasty barley and winter melon recipe is perfect for the warmer days before the temperature drops. It’s a very minimal recipe as well– but you’ll have to hunt for candied winter melon, which you may be able to find at international supermarkets or online.
Winter Melon Tea
This may be the most basic winter melon tea out there, but it makes our list because it really stands on its own without any fancy ingredients. Simple and refreshing, this tea only calls for winter melon and two different types of sugar. Enjoy it hot or cold!
Winter Melon Bubble Tea Latte
Bubble tea has to be the tastiest beverage out there and can be made with an insanely wide variety of flavors. Winter melon is one of them, and it really suits the drink with its subtle sweet flavor. Just make sure you get black tapioca pearls and prep them ahead of time. The whipped cream is optional, but it really makes this turn from a refreshing drink into a dessert treat.
The “Fields of Travel” Cocktail
We had to throw a cocktail on this list! Your bartender may not know what the Fields of Travel cocktail entails, but you can easily make it at home with some sparkling sake, green chartreuse liqueur, zucchini (or cucumber) water, and a nice cucumber garnish.
Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add some cooking oil, swirling it to coat side. Add in the chopped green onion and ginger to fry over a high heat for about 20 seconds until fragrant. Add in the soaked shrimps and winter melon shreds, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
Add the salt and pepper powder. Stir-fry for 20 seconds more until the water evaporated. Turn off the heat, and add some chicken essence (stock), and mix well.
- Make broth:
- Rinse chicken inside and out, then stuff cavity with scallions, ham, and ginger. Bring water with chicken and salt to a boil in a deep 7- to 8-quart stockpot or pasta pot, then reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, skimming off froth occasionally, 3 hours. 3Remove and discard chicken, then pour broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Skim off fat. (You will have about 10 to 12 cups broth and need only 9 cups for this soup reserve remainder for the Black-Bean Shrimp with Chinese Broccoli or for another use.)
- Bring 2 cups broth to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then add dried scallops and remove from heat. Soak, covered, 15 minutes.
- Return scallop mixture to low heat and simmer, uncovered, until scallops are soft and pale, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in cooking liquid. Transfer scallops with a slotted spoon to a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Shred scallops into "threads" with a fork or your fingers, discarding tough ligament from side of each scallop if attached. Bring remaining 7 cups broth to a simmer in cleaned 7- to 8-quart pot with scallops and reserved cooking liquid.
- Cut off and discard rind from winter melon. Remove and discard seeds, then cut melon into 1/3-inch cubes (about 5 cups). Add to broth and gently simmer, uncovered, until melon is transparent, 20 to 30 minutes. 3Stir in ham, ginger, scallions, and salt to taste just before serving.
Best Winter Melon Recipes - Recipes
A universal Japanese flavored sweet/sour dressing that is used on many foods. It is the seasoning for making sushi rice, it is the salad dressing for the delicately sliced fresh vegetables in sunomono and namasu or it is the vinegar seasoning to use on vegetables for suzuke.
Combine sugar and white vinegar in a saucepan on low heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat as soon as sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Basic Su can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
This is a home-style recipe to experiment with bitter melon. Bitter melons are bitter! If you haven't acquired a taste for them, about a 3-minute parboil before adding them to a recipe will reduce the bitterness.
Slice bacon into 1/4 " thick pieces and sauté until done. Cut bitter melons in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Slice into 1/4 " thick pieces and add to cooked bacon. Add soy sauce, sugar and water and cook until desired doneness.
Bitter Melon with Egg and Tofu
This recipe was shared with us by Terry Tsurue Combs. She learned to make it from Okinawan friends when stationed in Okinawa.
Cut bitter melon in half and scoop out seeds. Slice into 1/4 " thick pieces. Soak in cold water for 3 minutes and drain well. Cut tofu into small cubes. Heat the oil in a wok. Add bitter melon to hot oil and stir fry until bitter melon is soft. Add salt/pepper to taste. Add tofu and cook a minute longer. Add eggs and scramble with the bitter melon mixture until egg is set. Move bitter melon mixture to one side of wok. Add soy sauce to uncovered side of wok. When soy sauce is bubbling, mix all ingredients. Add bonita flakes and stir. Serve with hot rice.
Burdock or gobo is a long, fibrous root that can be eaten raw (sliced in salads) or cooked. A familiar recipe is Kimpira.
Scrape the exterior of the root with a sharp knife to remove the skin. Cut gobo into thin matchstick size. Soak gobo in water for 15 minutes and rinse. Do this a couple of times. Soak gobo in ice water, drain and pat dry (the gobo may be frozen at this point). Add oil to hot pan and sauté gobo for 3-4 minutes. Add all ingredients and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Take off heat and add cayenne pepper.
Daikon Tsukemono (Radish Pickles)
Most Japanese meals are served with vegetable pickles, tsukemono. The pickling is done in various methods depending on desired flavor and length of storage. Some are preserved for only 1-2 days to 5-10 years.
Cut daikon into 1/2 " x 1 1/2 " pieces. Pack daikon into a glass container. Bring salt, sugar and vinegar to a boil. Pour the hot vinegar solution over the daikon. Cover with lid. Refrigerate 3-4 days. Stir once or twice. This tsukemono is not intended for long keeping.
Deep Fried or Grilled Japanese Eggplants
Japanese eggplants, nasubi, are often deep-fried, su-age, or grilled because of their full flavor and beautiful purple color. The flesh and skin are very tender and rarely bitter. Soaking eggplants in water will reduce or remove the bitterness.
For deep-frying, leave Japanese long eggplants whole and cut 3-4 slits through the skin and for Japanese round eggplants cut in half. Then deep fry until the center of the eggplant is soft.
For grilling, leave Japanese long eggplants whole and brush the eggplant with oil and poke a few holes through the skin. Put on a grill for about 15 minutes. Turn eggplants so they will cook evenly. If the skin gets charred, place the eggplants in cold water and peel off the charred skin.
Dip the cooked eggplants as you are eating them into the Ponsu sauce with grated daikon.
Grow soybeans in your kitchen garden for the freshest snack. Edamame is a good choice as an appetizer too. Bite on the cooked pod and out pops the beans.
Wash fresh podded soybeans. Add them to salted boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes or less. Taste test for the desired doneness.
Ichiyazuki (One night pickling)
Ichiyazuki is a salt pickling and is the easiest, fastest and most popular way of pickling. Basically, vegetables are washed, sliced, salted and placed under a weight for about a day. You may prepare this in the morning and serve pickles at dinner. Raisins or chilies may be added for desired flavor. Salt is rinsed off the vegetable before serving. The vegetables are good for only 1-2 days.
For Chinese cabbage, wash nappa leaves. Sprinkle salt on leaves and massage salt into leaves (especially white mid ribs). Place nappa leaves in a deep pan or bowl. For sweet or hot flavoring, add raisins or chilies on the side of the leaves. Sprinkle salt on top of the nappa. Place a dish that will be able to sink down and place it on top of the nappa. Put a heavy weight on top of the plate. Another pan filled with water placed on top of the plate may be used as weight. When you are ready to eat the pickles, wash the leaves and squeeze out the water. Cut leaves into 1/2 " lengths.
Daikon tops, radish leaves, takana or mustard leaves. Follow the like nappa process described above. It is preferred not to use raisins or chilies for these spicy vegetables.
For cucumbers, they can be lightly peeled. Cut lengthwise in half and cut again 1/2 " crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and massage and follow like nappa described above. Cut to desired size before serving.
Kabocha can be easily prepared to fully enjoy the flavor and texture of the winter squash. It can be served hot or cold depending on the time of year.
Cut kabocha in half and remove stringy portion and seeds. Peel any skin defects. Slice into chunks approximately 1 1/2 " x 1 1/2 ". Place chunks with skin side down in a large pot. Add enough chicken broth or dashi to cover kabocha, add sugar and mirin. Cover with lid. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes or until a fork can penetrate the kabocha. Uncover the pan and remove from heat. Let the kabocha set awhile so the chicken broth/dashi gets absorbed.
Roasted Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin)
This recipe is so simple and delicious you can hardly wait for next summer to grow more kabocha.
Heat oven to 475°F. Cut kabocha in half and remove stringy portion and seeds. Peel any skin defects. Slice into chunks approximately 1 inch x 1 inch. Place chunks of kabocha in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Occasionally, toss kabocha to prevent burning. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
This is a miso dressing or dipping sauce that may be used on fresh or blanched vegetables. Experiment with different vegetables such as green onions (try them blanched), any green beans, asparagus, snow peas, yu choy, kailaan, etc.
Instead of using the vinegar and sugar ingredients, use the Basis Su you may already have prepared. Mix all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Add a little water to thin or to reduce the flavor if necessary. Miso Su can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
This is a complete main dish to serve with rice and pickles. Here are a few kitchen garden recipes to add to your everyday menu.
Brown meat and add cut tomatoes. Cut vegetables into large chuck sizes and add a little water so the stew will not burn. Bring to a boil and then simmer until desired doneness. Add a little soy sauce and sugar to taste.
Brown meat and add sliced onions. Cut nappa into 1" slices. Add the white mid ribs first and then the leaf parts. Add tomatoes and a little water so the stew will not burn. Bring to a boil and then simmer until desired doneness. Add sugar to taste.
This uncomplicated citrus flavored dipping sauce can be used for salads, tempura vegetables, shabu-shabu, yosenabe and mizutaki.
Combine all sauce ingredients. Try adding grated daikon (drained) to individual sauce dishes and pour Ponsu sauce over it. Serve at room temperature and store in the refrigerator.
Trim the top off the turnip to make a flat base. Place 2 pencils or other sticks on a cutting board to stop the knife from cutting all the way through the root. Place the turnip on its top (now a flat base) between the sticks. With a sharp knife, make 4 to 6 cuts the full length of the turnip ending carefully at the sticks. This way there will be a piece of turnip intact to hold it together. Turn the root 90° and make another 4 to 6 cuts, stopping at the sticks. Repeat this with all the turnips.
Put the cut turnips in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and lightly massage it in. Place a plate that is smaller than the diameter of the bowl on top of the radishes. Put a weight on top of the plate to force some of the liquid out. After 30 minutes remove the plate and drain the liquid.
Stir the vinegar and sugar together until dissolved, heating a little if necessary. Pour over the turnips and leave at least 8 hours or longer to marinate.
Drain well before serving. Use with green leaves as a garnish.
Crunchy and delicious Sanbai Zuke pickles. Auntie Aki has made this tsukemono for many years and we wanted to share this recipe with our customers. Try, and enjoy!
Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Cut daikon, cabbage, cucumber, and carrots into small bite-size pieces. Salt vegetables. Place weight on top of vegetables and set over night. Next day, drain vegetables and squeeze water from vegetables. Set aside.
Soften kiri konbu by soaking in water. Cook dry renkon until tender yet crunchy. Cool renkon. Cut kiri konbu and renkon into small pieces. Add to vegetables.
Combine sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar in sauce pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Add ginger and chili peppers. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Add vegetable mixture to sauce and let set for 1 hour, mix occasionally. Drain sauce (and save) from vegetable mixture. Bring the drained sauce to boil and cool slightly. Add the vegetable mixture to sauce. Do this process 2-3 times until vegetable mixture is to desired flavor. Place in sterilized jars. Refrigerate. Pickles are ready to eat in 3-5 days.
Sesame Seed Dressing for Steamed/Boiled Vegetables
This nutty sesame dressing will complement almost any vegetable. Try growing sesame seeds in your garden!
Combine all sauce ingredients and mix. Boil or steam vegetable until desired doneness. Strain vegetable and dash with cold water. Squeeze vegetable to release most of the water. Cut vegetable to desired size. Lightly dress vegetable with sesame dressing.
For green beans, sprinkle sugar on beans while hot so the sugar will dissolve. Sprinkle ground or whole roasted sesame seeds and add soy sauce to desired taste and toss.
This is a hot-pot method of cooking derived from a Mongolian style. Shabu-shabu can be cooked at the stove or table using a cast iron pot or shabu-shabu ceramic pot. A favorite dish served during cold winter months. Enjoy cooking shabu-shabu together with family and guests.
Cut vegetables to desired size. Pour chicken broth or water (water will make a lighter broth from all the meats and vegetables being cooked) into cooking pot to cover the quantity of items being cooked. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add meats, and cook until it is slightly done. Add vegetables and cook until desired. Dip meat and vegetables as you are eating them into the Ponsu sauce with grated daikon.
Sour Leaf Chin Baung Kyaw
Chin Baung Kyaw is a popular vegetable Burmese dish. The flavor is mouth-watering sour, spicy, and savory. The main ingredient is fresh roselle leaves. Fried roselle leaves go well with hot rice.
Pull roselle leaves from stem, wash, drain, and put aside. Pound or food process dried shrimp (if using this ingredient) and garlic separately. Thinly slice shallots. Heat pan and add oil. Add garlic and shallots and fry until slightly golden color. Stir and add turmeric, paprika, and chili powder. Add a little sugar for flavor. Add shrimp and stir to coat with sauce. Add bamboo shoots. Add roselle leaves and stir gently in a scooping motion. Cover and simmer until leaves are cooked. Add fish sauce and scoop from bottom to top. Uncover and continue cooking until desired texture and water is absorbed. Top with fresh green chili.
Thinly slice any Japanese, Armenian or Thai cucumbers, Japanese eggplants, shiso leaves, red onions, green peppers, etc. Put in a large salad bowl. Lightly dress with Basic Su and toss.
Slice any one or two types of vegetables such as daikon radishes, red and small radishes, carrots, Japanese turnips, or just a red onion. Dress with Basic Su and serve in 1-2 hours. Keep leftovers marinated in the Basic Su (becomes almost pickled-like) and store in refrigerator.
Auntie Betty's Takuan Tsukemono
Auntie Betty's takuan tsukemono is the best! The tsukemono is crunchy, salty, spicy, and sweet. Enjoy these pickles alone or along with your meal.
Wash daikon thoroughly and cut daikon into 1/2 " x 1 1/2 " pieces. Place in large pan for future mixing. Bring to boil salt, sugar, vinegar, and turmeric. Quickly pour this liquid over the cut daikon. Let stand 2-3 hours and mix occasionally. Pack daikon into a sterile glass jars. Pour remaining liquid in jars covering daikon. Add chili pepper (optional). Cover with lid. Refrigerate. This tsukemono is not intended for long keeping.
A simple soup deliciously served during cold winter months. Winter melon is mild flavored with a crunchy melon texture.
Cut winter melon in half and scoop out the stringy portion and seeds. Peel the skin and cut into large chunks. Slice mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, etc. Sauté ground or diced meat used for flavoring. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the melon and all the vegetable ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes until melon is tender. Add soy sauce to taste. You may add seaweed and/or a slightly beaten egg. Stir until it egg is cooked.
45 Best Winter Desserts That Taste Gourmet But Are So Easy to Make
When the mercury dips, there's nothing quite like the hygge lifestyle. You know, slipping into some extra flannel pajamas , putting a sweet treat in the oven, burning a seasonal candle, and settling in for a holiday movie.
But as good as that freshly baked cookie or apple tart sounds, lazy nights call for one thing and one thing only: an easy winter dessert. (Who wants to spend the whole night in the kitchen when you can be relaxing?) The good news: There are plenty of options. Whether you swoon over shortcake or go nuts for a warm pecan pie, there are plenty of baked goods that require just a few ingredients and minimal effort, so you can spend more time with your feet up.
Don't worry, though: If you find a favorite, chances are it can still be your go-to when entertaining a crowd at a Christmas gathering or any other get-together. Though simple, there's something gourmet about these winter dessert recipes, making them perfectly suited for both a night in and a fabulous dinner party. So what are you waiting for? As our friends on The Great British Baking Show would say, "on your marks, get set. bake!"
What Is Winter Squash, Exactly?
Hardy winter squashes have a special place in our hearts and on our holiday tables (naturally, the two are linked), but they signify the start of fall well before turkey is even a glimmer in our eye.
The winter squash family is vast—acorn, butternut, delicata, turban, red kuri, and kabocha squash are but a few of the more well-known varieties (and pumpkins are squash too!)—but what they all have in common is a hard, dense texture that makes them great for storing…and sometimes difficult to hack into.
Here’s a nifty trick to make cutting winter squash easier:
8-Inch Chef's Knife, $89 from Made In
You'll still want a good, sharp knife.
Many winter squashes have vibrant orange or red flesh beneath their skin, which can range from butternut’s unassuming beige to delicata’s striped green and yellow to kabocha’s bright flame hue, but their shapes and sizes vary widely. Their flavors vary too, but are generally naturally sweet to some degree certain varieties are nuttier than others, or earthier. When cooked, their flesh can be silky-smooth or a little dry and crumbly—or stringy (in a good way), when it comes to spaghetti squash.
They all take a fair amount of time to cook and are very rarely eaten raw, though you can in fact eat thinly shaved butternut squash without cooking it. And some varieties of winter squash with thinner skins like acorn and delicata can be left unpeeled before roasting them, as in this Easy Fall Sheet Pan Dinner recipe:
All of these dense winter squash varieties are related to summer squash like zucchini and crookneck, but the warm weather specimens are all much softer and more tender with thinner skins (so you can pretty much eat all of them raw if you like).
Best Winter Melon Recipes - Recipes
Dong gua tang (Chinese Winter Melon Soup) is a light yet satisfying soup for cold Winter nights.
Did you know that we can grow winter melon squash here in Malaysia?
I saw it growing at a friend’s house here in Kuching. She told me that actually, winter melon grows quite wild here. Her vine had started at one end of her fence, given her about 6 fruit and then looked like it was about to die. But then new green shoots continued to come out and now half her fence has dying brown leaves while the other half has new leaves with another 5-6 fruit hanging from vine. Astounding!
What the Heck is That?
One day we were in our backyard inspecting the pandan plant on one side of the yard and the curry tree arching over from our neighbor’s yard on the other side. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a vine creeping among the branches of the tree, and saw this melon hanging on it! It was about the size of a medium watermelon. (I didn’t yet know that it was a winter melon.)
I struck up a conversation with my neighbour one day and asked her about the vine and she confirmed that, yes indeed, it was a winter melon. Two days later, while I was coming out of my house, she ran up to me and handed me half a melon that she had recently harvested from that vine. Sweet! That half melon was perfect for making pot of winter melon soup.
No Soup for Me!
Now, believe it or not, I had never cooked winter melon soup before. See, I’m not really a soup person. Strange I know.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I sweat a lot when drinking hot soups in a hot country. When I left Malaysia and went to live in the US, I enjoyed drinking soups in Fall and Winter when the heat from that bowl of soup really helped to warm me up.
Well, now I’m back in Malaysia where it is HOT! Especially here in Kuching. But maybe age is catching up with me because I am beginning to enjoy soups a bit more. When my neighbour handed this winter melon to me, I was happy to make this soup. What’s more, after I made it, I actually drank two bowls, sweat dripping from my forehead and all! Maybe it’s knowing that this fruit was home-grown or maybe it was the taste of the winter melon soup itself. Whatever it was, it was truly satisfying and comforting.
Making the soup itself is pretty easy. You can make the broth for the soup using chicken bones but I chose pork bones as I had them handy at the time. If you use pork bones, do this one additional step to help you to get a nice, clear soup—bring bones to a vigorous boil, then dump out the water and rinse the bones a few times before refilling with clean water and bringing the bones to a boil again. This technique of first boiling the bones and dumping out the water helps to give you a stock that is not murky from all the scum rising from the pork bones.
Once I’d done that, I added the dried scallops, dates and ginger to the stock and let them simmer with the pork bones for about an hour. While that was happening, I sliced off the skin of the winter melon, then cut it into chunks.
I already had some boiled peanuts handy so I decided to add that in. I also added some reconstituted shiitake mushrooms to enrich the stock (not too many otherwise it would overwhelm the delicate flavor of the winter melon).
Chinese Winter Melon Soup Recipe
1/3 lb (250g) pork spare ribs or neck bones, cut into chunks
10 cups water
1/2 a medium winter melon, cut into large chunks (about 4-5 cups worth)
1/4 cup dried scallops
10-12 dried red dates
1 inch ginger, sliced thickly
2-4 dried shiitake, reconstituted
1/2 cup boiled peanuts (optional)
salt and some chicken bouillon to taste
dash of white pepper
1. Put pork bones in a large pot and fill with water, enough to cover pork. Bring to a boil and let boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and dump water. Rinse out pork bones until not much remaining scum can be seen (a little bit will always remain, it’s ok, no need to be too perfectionist about it—after all we’re not Tampopo!).
2. Return pork bones to pot with 10 cups of water. Bring to boil and as soon as it come to a boil, lower heat to a simmer.
3. Add ginger slices, red dates, scallops, and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for an hour. Season with a little bit of salt.
Adding Scallops to the Soup Stock
4. Add winter melon chunks. Simmer for another hour or until winter melon is tender and all the components have melded together.
5. Season with chicken bouillon (about 1/2 tsp) and salt to taste. I always like to season my soups at the end because that gives time for all the flavors to develop and that is when I know what is still lacking. If you season too early, you might find yourself tempted to add more seasoning than it needs as the ingredients might not have released all its wonderful flavors yet.
Finish the soup with a dash of white pepper. If you want, you can also add a little bit of sesame oil. Serve in individual soup bowls and enjoy with rice and other dishes.
I just winged the recipe using my own instincts. If this is not the way you make your winter melon soup, please feel free to share yours with me. But I liked how mine turned out—the soup was very tasty, yet delicate. I can’t quite describe it in English—clear and light seems to be the best way to describe it, I guess. The addition of scallops and dates combined with the winter melon gave the soup sweetness while the pork bones and mushrooms added savoriness. The sliced ginger added some depth and heat and gave this soup that warmth to contrast with the coolness of the winter melon.
Quite a simple soup but thoroughly satisfying. Find yourself some winter melon and make this Chinese soup for yourself. It’s a wonderful soup for those days when you just want something comforting without being too heavy. And for those of you facing very cold temps, this soup will deliver warmth and satisfaction to take away that chill from your bones.