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- Dish type
- Vegetable soup
This is a great way of making use of leftover roast duck bones. Winter melon is simmered with duck bones, ginger, spring onions, Shaoxing wine and Sichuan peppercorns.
2 people made this
- 1 roast duck carcass, chopped into four pieces
- 240g Chinese winter melon, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2-3 spring onions, cut into 2.5cm pieces
- 5 thin slices fresh ginger
- Shaoxing wine, to taste
- Sichuan peppercorns, to taste
- monosodium glutamate (MSG), to taste
- fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:55min
- Pour enough cold water into a pot and bring to the boil over high heat. Add the duck carcass, spring onions, ginger, Shaoxing wine, Sichuan peppercorns and MSG and bring back to the boil. Skim off any foam that forms. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the winter melon and simmer for 20 minutes more or until the winter melon is soft and the soup becomes creamy white in colour.
- Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a soup bowl and garnish with coriander. Serve.
Shaoxing wine, monosodium glutamate, Sichuan peppercorns and Chinese winter melon can be purchased in Chinese/Oriental speciality shops.
If winter melon is unavailable, substitute in bitter melon - simply salt for 30 minutes before using.
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- 1 cup/1/2 pound winter melon
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 Chinese dried black mushrooms
- 2-3 slices ginger
- 1/4 cup cooked ham (diced)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Green onions (sliced)
Wash the winter melon, remove the green skin, seeds and the pulp. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
Reconstitute the Chinese dried mushrooms by soaking in hot water for 20 - 30 minutes until softened. Squeeze out any excess water.
Place the winter melon in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the winter melon is tender.
Add the chicken broth, mushrooms, ginger and cooked ham.
Add seasonings as desired. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add green onion for garnish. Serve hot.
Purchase a whole winter melon (about 8 to 10 pounds), cut off the top, remove the seeds and pulp, place the other ingredients inside and steam for 1 - 2 hours. This makes for a fancier looking dish.
Add barbecued pork and/or shrimp.
Try adding other vegetables, such as bamboo shoots, carrots, or silk squash.
Winter Melon Soup
Warm and comforting soup for autumn and winter—Winter Melon soup with ribs and other options you like.
Winter melon also known as Ash Gourd is quite popular in China. We grow several winter melon vines almost every year when I was still young. I did not like it previously when we were not so rich in food especially meats. Winter melon usually was in large size and we might have it on dining table for several days. And what’s worse, there is no unique or special taste of it. However, I like blank ingredient more along with the growing ages. They can be the best partner for most of other ingredients.
But my mind changes a lot after cooking the winter melon chunks with meat, including meatballs, hams and ribs etc. The fat can stimulate the freshness of the winter melon and on the contrast winter melon makes the meat brighter and less greasy.
For most of the soup recipes, I use high pressure cooker or maybe instant pot is a more familiar term. Electric rice cooker and high pressure cooker are the most important small tools in Chinese kitchen. And they are really excellent assistants. If you do not have one, I highly recommend buying yourself one. During my working day, I finish all the cooking staff within 30 minutes, usually a typical Chinese menu including a meat dish, a vegetable stir fry, a salad and a soup. Rice cooker is steaming rice while high pressure cooker is either making a soup or braising a red cooked pork belly. I may have my bread machine start working for the next breakfast.
Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup
My delicious double-boiled winter melon soup
I’ve always been in awe with the restaurant-styled whole winter melon soups – I mean, how on earth did they do that? They must have some giant double-boiler inside and it always taste so yummy! It’s a true favourite of mine when I go to Chinese restaurants to be able to drink it – especially with all the yummy insides that go with it! So I did manage to find a baby whole winter melon – which will fit into my soup pot, so here’s the recipe for it. You can actually use this on a whole winter melon, but you’l need to just cut off whatever amount doesn’t fit into your pot and go from there. This is a pretty labour intensive soup with many steps, but so worth it!
Soup Name: Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup
Traditional Chinese Soup Name: 冬瓜盅 (dōng guā zhōng)
For the whole recipe and to skip my commentary, scroll down.
To start, you’ll need: 1 whole winter melon, dried shrimp, dried conpoy, fresh shrimp, fresh pork, dried mushrooms, straw mushrooms, salt, cornstarch, oil and chicken broth.
In actuality, this is a quick boil soup first and then double-boiled within the winter melon – or at least, that’s how this recipe goes. The thicker the winter melon, the longer it will need to be double-boiled, but at least you make the soup base first.
To start, soak all your dried Chinese goodies for 10-15 minutes – this includes the mushrooms, the conpoys and the shrimp.
Soaking dried Chinese mushrooms
Soaking dried shrimp and conpoys
Cut up the mushrooms. We don’t need the mushrooms ends, so you can discard this. Cut the mushrooms into tiny cubes. The idea is to use consistency across all the soup ingredients so they are the same size.
You can start working on “emptying” the winter melon. Start by slicing the top straight across, these beautiful parts can be used in your soup (less skin). Using a sharp, thin, knife, cut about 1 inch away from the edge and completely remove all the middle. You can discard the seeds first and keep the flesh to be added back into the soup. Go deep and leave about 1-inch from the bottom, you’ll have to be careful here and just eyeball it. Try really hard not to puncture the winter melon!
Emptying the middle of the winter melon
Using any parts of the leftover winter melon, cube that into the same size as the mushrooms. This will be used for your soup later.
Same with your meats. Cube the raw shrimp and raw pork. After this, you can mix them together with a bit of salt, oil and corn starch, in preparation for frying.
In a pot, add a tiny bit of oil and pan fry the dried shrimp and conpoy. This makes the fragrance and all the flavours are ready to come out in the soup. In Cantonese, there’s a term called “exploding the fragrance” of the ingredients.
Fry the dried conpoys and shrimp
When cooked for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat, throw in the raw shrimp and pork and stir that around a little bit for another 5 minutes.
Add in the raw shrimp and pork
You will then have a beautiful and very fragrant medley of your meats for the soup. Good enough to just eat on its own – for sure! But don’t!! You need it for the soup!
Your medley of meats for the soup
Here’s where it gets tricky. I made a giant pot of soup – so much that it doesn’t fit into the winter melon, which is OK, because you can still drink the quick boil as a quick boil soup any way. I used 1 part chicken broth and 2 parts water – this is because I don’t like soup too salty, and you can always add more salt or chicken broth after.
So now, throw everything into your pot. The broth and the straw mushrooms (which are also diced) and the diced winter melon.
Let that boil on medium heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in your double-boiler, set it up so that you have a the winter melon sitting on a metal low dish (to catch any soup just in case) and add hot water to the outside double-boiler.
Setting up the winter melon for double-boil
Once it’s set up, you can turn up the flame to a medium-high to get the water boiling. Once your other quick boil soup is read, scoop in generous amounts of the meats and “stuff” (fill about half) and then fill the rest with the soup. It won’t all fill, but tis is life sometimes!
Soup into the winter melon – ready for double-boiling!
The idea is that the heat will soften the winter melon bowl and the flavours of the soup will just seep into the flesh and make it so deliciously yummy! Boil on a medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until you see that the winter melon has softened and turned translucent. This means, it’s ready!
Ready to serve when the winter melon flesh is translucent
Finally, serve! Use a hardy soup ladle and scoop the soup meats, the soup itself and don’t forget to go for the outer winter melon flesh – that’s why it’s cooked in the double-boiler!
Go ahead, scoop it all out!
This was one awesome soup and I was super proud that it was a huge success on my first attempt! I’ve also had requests to try it with a larger winter melon, so that will be my next project. There are so many variations you can make on the soup though, like including Chinese preserved ham, ham, go vegetarian?, carrots, onions – whatever!
Why You Should Add Winter Melon to Your Diet
Winter melon is considered a popular diet food. A big slice of winter melon (about 800 grams / 2 pounds) contains only 277 calories. It’s low in saturated fat, doesn’t contain cholesterol, and is high in dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin A, B and C. There is even a diet known as the winter melon diet. I won’t go into details on that today, but you should definitely check out winter melon in order to add some more variety to your daily meals.
Maybe it’s not a very delicious vegetable by itself, because it has such a mild flavor, but the melon will taste like whatever it’s cooked with. In this recipe, it is briefly cooked in pork broth. This makes the melon very soft and gives it a refreshing and slightly meaty flavor.
There are various ways to cook winter melon, but cooking it in the soup is one of the most popular. The classic winter melon soup can be cooked with chicken or pork broth. Some recipes use pork chops to make a slow cooked dish with it.
The recipe here is my family’s favorite way to enjoy winter melon soup. By adding meatballs, you can easily turn a very light soup dish into a fulfilling one. You can easily replace the pork broth with chicken broth, or even use water with a bit of chicken bouillon.
When cooking winter melon soup, be careful not to overcook the melon, as it will turn very soft quickly. Always check the texture of the melon every 2 to 3 minutes and stop cooking when it starts to turn soft. It will break apart easily if overcooked.
Have any questions about winter melon or want more recipes for it? Drop me a note below and I’ll reply as best as I can!
I created a short video below to walk you through the cooking process. If you like the video, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel! I have a collection of cooking videos that walk you through the delicious recipes at Omnivore’s Cookbook. It is one of the fastest ways for you to get used to the techniques that are used in Chinese cooking!
Through thick and thin
In Chinese cuisine, there are (at least) two words for soup: tōng 汤 and gāng 羹
- gāng 羹 is the word for "thick" soup, or soup that's thicker in consistency. Generally, gāng 羹 is thickened with things like cornstarch, eggs or egg whites, and etc.
- tōng 汤 is more of a general term for soup, but in comparison with gāng 羹, it's closer to the consistency of water.
Winter Melon Soup comes in both varieties of thick and thin, and the one we're covering today is of the thick variety.
As the name suggests, winter melons are more readily available here in the US during the colder months. Since the melons are quite large, they are usually cut and sold in pieces. Finding a small whole winter melon is not easy but I got lucky one time and was able to prepare this special Steamed Stuffed Winter Melon Soup for Chinese New Year. On most other days, I will make this easy Winter Melon Soup (Tung Kua Tong).
Daikon and Pork Soup
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I lived with a Chinese family, Winter Melon soup was much simpler, Chicken broth, cubed tofu, cubed winter melon, and chicken gizzards that were cut cross hatched, and when they cooked opened up like a flower. much simpler, and more authentic. Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo d/notes/Winter-Melon-Soup- 233787#ixzz23exTAAOm
Yummy! It did not take as long to cook the melon, and I was not sure if I should use the same ham for the broth as for the soup. i did not but i might next time.
i've made this recipe three times using my own stock and it's supremely delicious and elegant first course. i agree dried scallops are an essential, classic chinese ingredient. it has a deep flavor you can't get from the fresh. the only thing is that they're $40+/lb, so say $8 worth for this recipe. the ham gives a lovely contrasting taste too.
This is a lovely recipe, a lot simpler to prepare than the traditional one, where all of the ingredients are steamed inside of a whole wintermelon. On the scallops, please use dried and not fresh scallops - it makes a world of difference. Just soak the scallops overnight or when you are preparing the broth in warm cooked water. Do not boil it per recipe - that is bound to make it hard and stringy. That is not how you soften dried scallops. And you should resuse the water that was used to soak the scallops in per the recipe.
For A Cook from Buffalo: Winter Melon can be found at Asian grocery stores. I'm guessing you could find a listing online for somewhere near you.
Does anyone know where you can buy this winter melon at what store it is avavilable?
I haven't made this recipe because I have no idea what a "winter melon" is. Anyone.
I like it.Feel fresh, light, and healthy.
OO a great soup. but trust me Folks. use fresh scallops or shrimp..the dried ones are tough and tasteless.
sorry i havent made this soup yet, but as someone of chinese descent and loving to eat and cook chinese food, i can tell u that this recipe is pretty dead on to how my parents and grandparents have been making it forever so its gotta be good!! =)