There are so many delicious ways to cook a winter melon soup. Usually, they are simmered for a fairly long time but for this quick and easy Chinese winter melon soup recipe, you’ll only need 30 minutes of cooking time. Perfect for days when you just want a tasty soup that can be prepared quickly and not spend too much time in the kitchen.
Winter melon has no flavor on its own but it will readily absorb the flavors of whatever liquid it is cooked in. So for this quick boil soup, it is important to have other ingredients to add flavor to the broth.
In this Chinese winter melon soup recipe, I used ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and xia mi (dried small shrimps) to flavor the soup. Dried shrimps are a common ingredient used in Chinese foods from dim sum dishes like chee cheong fun (rice noodle roll), zongzi (Chinese dumpling) to stir-fries and sambal (a spicy condiment).
If you have small dried scallops, you may substitute the dried shrimps and ikan bilis with them. Small dried scallops are more suitable for quick boil soups compared to larger dried scallops as they cook faster. Be sure to soak them first before use.
Whole winter melons are huge; growing as large as 80 cm in length when matured. Buy the disc section of the winter melon for easier cutting and preparation. Trim off the skin and remove the seeds. Then cut it into large chunks.
Winter melon is known to have diuretic effect and helps to relieve heat related symptoms and clears toxin in our body. It is also high in dietary fibre and vitamin C and is very low in fat. So if you’re on a weight loss plan, you may include this as part of your diet. It also has detoxifying effects, just like this Daikon Radish Soup.
Besides cooking them in soups, winter melons are also chopped and made into candied winter melon treats which I use to boil barley when I feel heaty. Another popular drink made with winter melon is winter melon tea, which my family and I love to drink. Candied winter melon is also used in the popular traditional Chinese pastry ‘Wife Biscuit’/Winter Melon Puff (Lao Po Bing 老婆饼), a snack I absolutely adore.
Cut the pork into thin slices and marinade it with the seasonings shown in the recipe. Slice straw mushrooms into halves. The straw mushrooms provide a different ‘crunchy’ texture in contrast with the soft winter melon. You can substitute them with other mushrooms like reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms or button mushrooms if preferred. If you’re using dried shiitake mushrooms, don’t add too many of them or they will overwhelm the delicate flavor of the winter melon soup.
Try making this Chinese soup at home. I enjoyed its tasty yet delicate flavor. It’s a delicious soup to have for days when you feel like having something nourishing and comforting without being too heavy. And it took me less than an hour to cook this along with rice and a veggie for a complete meal. Thoroughly satisfying! 🙂
Do you have a favourite way of cooking winter melon soup? Feel free to share with me your recipe and comments in the comments section below. Another Chinese winter melon soup recipe you may wish to try is this Winter Melon with Barley Soup.
Last but not least, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media. Happy cooking and see you soon! 🙂
- 700 g winter melon disc - cut into large cubes
- 200 g lean pork with some fat (twee bak) - sliced into thin strips (marinade)
- 200 g straw mushrooms - cut into halves
- 50 g ikan bilis
- 30 g dried shrimps
- 1.2 litres water (or use just enough water to immerse all the ingredients)
- Marinade ingredients
- ½ tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp shallot oil (can be substituted with sesame oil)
- ½ tbsp corn starch
- splash of Shaoxing wine
- dash of white pepper
- Salt - to taste
- Cut pork into thin slices of about 1cm width and season it with the marinade ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
- Peel the winter melon skin with a sharp knife, remove the seeds and cut into large cubes.
- Cut all the straw mushrooms into halves.
- Rinse ikan bilis and dried shrimp. Place ikan bilis, dried shrimp and winter melon into a medium sized soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- minutes before turning off the flame, add in sliced pork and straw mushrooms. Cover the pot and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Season with salt to taste