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Winter Melon Soup

6 soup  
1 hr  

A very fine light soup course. This is a somewhat different take from the Chinese version of Winter Melon Soup. Chicken is used instead of pork due to the significant Muslim population in Singapore, and additional ingredients give it a more complex flavor and more color.




Winter Melon (1)
Chicken meat (2)
Black Mushrooms  
Red Date (3)
Scallop dry (4)
Ginger root
Stock (5)
-- Garnish
Sesame Oil dark
Cilantro leaves
PREP   -   (35 minutes - 20 min work)
  1. Soak MUSHROOMS in a cup of warm water for about 30 minutes, 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. Discard seeds and stringy stuff and cut it into 1/2 in cubes (not larger).
  3. Cut CHICKEN into 1/2 in cubes removing any fat you can.
  4. Slice GINGER thin, then into narrow matchsticks. Make two deep cuts into each RED DATE so the sweetness can get out. Mix.
  5. Prepare GARNISH, as many listed items as you wish to use. Slice Scallions very thin on a diagonal. Separate Cilantro leaves. Set out Sesame Oil (if used) so you can dispense just a couple drops into each bowl.
RUN   -   (25 min)
  1. Put Mushroom soaking liquid and enough Stock to make 6 cups in a pot. Add Mushrooms, Chicken, Ginger, and Dates, Bring to a boil and simmer covered about 10 minutes.
  2. Add Winter Melon and continue to simmer until melon is just cooked through (it will become translucent and settle deeper into the liquid).
  3. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Ladle into serving bowels. Stir just a few drops of Sesame Oil (if using) into each bowl and add just a little of each garnish you are using (don't overdo it). Serve hot.
  1. Winter Melon:   These are available, usually as large wedges or slices, in just about any market serving an East or Southeast Asian community, and sometimes in Indian markets. For details see our Ash Gourd page.
  2. Chicken:   Chicken meat should be without skin and with as much fat removed as possible. Thigh meat is best for flavor.
  3. Red Dates   Not at all related to Middle Eastern dates, these are actually dried jujubes. Find them in Asian markets among the other dried items. For details see our JuJubes page.
  4. Dried Scallops are a common flavoring ingredient in China and Southeast Asia. They are small, about 0.4 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches long. Find them in the refrigerated section of well stocked Asian markets. If you don't have them, dried squid is a good substitute, or use a few bits of salt cod or similar dried fish - or smoked bacon (lean only) or a few dice of cooked ham and not invite any Muslims.
  5. Stock:   A rather light chicken stock would be appropriate. The 6 cups includes the mushroom soaking liquid.
  6. 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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