Chinese winter melon soup is one of my all time favourite soups. I’ve eaten soups from literally dozens of countries yet this remains one of the best. This popular soup features the mild sweet taste of winter melon and is often served in Chinese households and at Chinese banquets.
If winter melon is unavailable, you can use a whole cucumber instead but the flavour will be quite different. If you use cucumber make sure you peel it, remove the seeds from the core and dice.
Winter melon usually has a light refreshing sweetness. The texture is quite soft once cooked and Chinese people believe winter melon is a Yin food that can help our bodies to counter the summer heat and humidity. It will also help your urine production and will increase the health of your kidneys.
Other health benefits of winter melon are:
1. Moisten the skin and enhance one’s beauty
2. It’s high in dietary fiber which can improve blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol and lipid levels.
3. It’s rich in vitamin B1 and B2.
4. It’s high in potassium salt.
There are many different methods to prepare winter melon soup. This article contains two very popular winter melon soup recipes. The first recipe is for “Winter melon and spareribs soup”. This recipe is one of the most common ways to prepare winter melon soup in both China and Taiwan. I must have drank this soup at least a thousand times when I grew up but I still enjoy it now.
The second winter melon soup recipe is from our former Chinese food expert and it’s a delicious winter melon soup with shiitake mushrooms and ham. I hope you enjoy both recipes.
Edited by Liv Wan.
- Recipe 1 Winter Melon and Spareribs Soup Ingredients:
- 11 ¼ ounces/320 grams pork ribs, cut into short lengths
- 4 cups/32 fl. oz./1 liter water
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 3 slice ginger
- 10 ounces/280grams winter melon, peeled, remove seeds and cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes.
- Salt to taste
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- Recipe 2 Winter Melon With Shiitake Mushroom and Ham Soup Ingredients:
- 1 cup winter melon (1/2 pound)
- 1 pot of water to boil winter melon
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 Chinese dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 to 3 slices ginger
- ¼ cup cooked ham, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 green onion, green part only, washed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
Recipe 1 Procedures:
Boil a pot of water and blanch the ribs briefly to remove any impurities. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Place the ribs, water, rice wine and ginger into a stockpot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
Add the winter melon and cook for about 30 minutes until the meat on the ribs is soft and tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dish out. Garnish as desired and serve.
Recipe 2 procedures:
Wash the winter melon, remove the green skin, seeds and the pulp. Cut into 2 inch pieces.
Reconstitute the dried shiitake mushrooms by soaking in cold water for 20 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 8-10 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.