This popular soup, featuring the mild sweet taste of winter melon, is often served at Chinese banquets. If winter melon is unavailable, the dish can also be made with a whole cucumber. Peel the cucumber, core to remove the seeds, and dice.
- 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.