Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls
This is a Chinese-style winter melon soup with homemade pork balls, cooked and served in the casserole. Last week, I made a long & slow Chinese winter melon soup by simmering the soup for more than 2 hours. On more “normal” days though, lazy me prefer a fast & easy version like this one which can be whipped up within 30 minutes.
Glass noodles (tang hoon/冬粉) make this dish a one-dish meal or a more filling soup dish. The glass noodles soak up the delicious wholesome chicken broth.
Remove the skin and the middle seeds. Then slice the winter melon flesh to large chunks if you are simmering the soup for a long time.
Further cut each chunk to half to get cubed winter melon. This will be used for quick cooking soups like this recipe.
The highlight of this dish (other than the winter melon) is the homemade pork balls. For best results, use minced pork with some fats on (I got mine from the pork deli counter at Sheng Siong) as it is more flavourful & tender. Marinate the meat with seasonings and corn flour for at least 15 minutes. I love to prepare this at night and let the mince marinate overnight in the fridge because it frees up time for me in the day, while allowing the flavours to permeate overnight (入味).
Shape the mince pork into even-sized balls. And here’s the rest of the ingredients: winter melon cubes, glass noodles, ginger, carrot and the short-cut: tetra-pak chicken broth. You can also use any homemade broth such as anchovies stock as the base. The tetra-pak type of broth is very rich tasting compared to bouillon cube so it is suitable in a Chinese soup dish like this one. Both winter melon & glass noodles are neutral in taste, so they absorb the sweetness of the soup after cooking.
This is what my casserole looks like right off the stove. You can see that there is a lot of soup. Serve it right away as the glass noodles will soak up & reduce the soup gradually. If you making the soup slightly ahead, add the glass noodles only when reheating the dish to serve.
First posted in Mar 2011, updated with improved recipe in Apr 2020.