Chinese Winter Melon Soup
Since the start our (partial) lockdown, my mum and I have been sending each other photos of our home-cooked meals. After a few days, she started asking “where’s the soup?!”. She said that during this period, Chinese soup is an important part of home cooking to keep one nourished. Okay noted mummy, I got lazy and I got caught :p To make up for it, I made this Chinese winter melon soup (冬瓜汤) soup the diligent way, brewing it for two hours before keeping warm for longer. Winter melon is neutral in taste so it absorbs the delicious essence of the rest of the ingredients after cooking. Being slightly cooling in nature, winter melon also helps to bring down body heat which is beneficial in our hot weather. If you prefer a quick cooking version, check out my winter melon with homemade pork balls soup recipe.
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For ease of preparation, get a disc shaped piece of winter melon which is so, so much easier to cut. I always buy my winter melon at the wet market as they seem to perpetually sell their melon pieces in this disc form.
This is what I meant about the disc piece being easier to cut. Simply remove the skin and the middle seeds. Then slice the winter melon flesh to large chunks, so that they won’t disintegrate after simmering for hours. If you are making a quick soup, you can cut them to smaller chunks.
This winter melon soup can be made with chicken or pork (on this particular day I used both). If the drumsticks are large, make 2 deep slits on the surface. You can also substitute drumsticks with one kampong chicken. I used both pork and chicken in this soup because of varying tastes in my family recently. You can use all pork, all chicken or a mixture of pork & chicken like I did.
I bought a glass soup pot just to make step-by-step photos. As the pot is actually a little small to make soup, I scaled down the ingredients. The actual recipe has been tested on the stove top with the full amount of ingredients.
Blanch the meat in a pot of water for 5 minutes, rinse the pieces and set aside.
Dump the ingredients into the pot and add water to boil.
When the water is boiling, lower the heat to simmer with a small vent opening on the lid, topping up water in between whenever needed.
This is what my soup looks like after almost 2 hours of simmering. Season to taste with salt. For best results, keep the soup warm in a thermal pot for at least 2 hours or longer.
I added wolfberries (last 5 minutes) and cooked barley (leftover the night before from my barley water). By the way, raw barley can added right from the start if you don’t have cooked barley. Stay safe and healthy!!