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Winter Melon Soup

4 soup  
45 min  

This soup is very common in areas under Chinese influence, and is made with endless minor variations, Most use dried mushrooms and the soaking liquid, and pork (though some use chicken). Some use broth instead of water and quite a few add dried scallops, or in Vietnam dried tiger lily buds.




Winter Melon (1)
Pork (2)
Black Mushrooms, dry  
Water, incl mushroom
-- Garnish
Sesame Oil dark
Cilantro leaves
Bean Sprouts
  1. Soak MUSHROOMS in a cup of warm water for about 1/2 hour, then squeeze them out, keeping soaking liquid and slice into 1/4 in squares.
  2. Peel WINTER MELON with a vegetable peeler, just enough to remove the hard green. Cut it into 1/2 in cubes (not larger).
  3. Cut PORK into 1/2 in cubes, removing any remaining fat. Put in a pot with plenty of water and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Dump out into the sink, wash the pot and rinse all sludge off the pork.
  4. Slice GINGER thin and cut into narrow matchsticks.
  5. Prepare GARNISH, as many listed items as you have. Slice Scallions very thin on a diagonal, separate Cilantro leaves. Set out Sesame Oil some way so you can dispense just a few drops into each bowl. Keep bean sprouts fresh and crisp.
  1. Put Mushroom soaking liquid and enough more water to make up 6 cups in a pot. Add Mushrooms, Pork, Ginger and Salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer covered until pork is tender (20 minutes to 1-1/2 hours depending on cut - longest for ribs).
  2. Add Winter Melon and continue to simmer until melon is just cooked through (about 15 minutes - it will become translucent and settle deeper in the water).
  3. Ladle into serving bowels. Stir just a few drops of Sesame Oil into each bowl and add a dash of each garnish (don't overdo it). Serve hot.
  1. Winter Melon:   These are available, usually as large wedges or slices, in just about any market serving a Southeast Asian or Chinese community, and sometimes in Indian markets. For details see our Ash Gourd page.
  2. Pork:   Weight is for boneless pork with all fat removed. Spare ribs are sometimes used, separated and cut into 1 inch lengths (a sharp Chinese cleaver knife driven by a soft faced mallet is perfect for this). For ribs increase weight to 1 pound, and cooking time to 1-1/2 hrs.
  3. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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