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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.

See Also:

Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls Recipe
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.


Winter Melon Disc
For ease of preparation, select a disc shaped piece of winter melon which is easier to cut.

Cutting Winter Melon
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.

Winter Melon Cubes
Further cut each chunk to half to get cubed winter melon. This will be used for quick cooking soups like this recipe.

Marinated Mince Pork
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).

Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls Ingredients

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.

Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls Recipe

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.

39 comments on “Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls”

  1. Simple and delicious! Ikan bilis stock is so much easier and faster than meat-based soup.

  2. Ikan bilis makes very nice and tasty soup. The soup is clear and tasty. Apart of this lovely clear soup of water melon with ikan bilis, one can try this Liang tau Hoo with it as well.

    Try having ikan billis soup with Liang tau Hoo in it.

    Add some Chye Sim to the Liang Tau Hoo soup to provide some vegetable with it.

    The green colour of the Chye Sim vegetable that added to the soup makes a nice colour on the background of the whitish colour ikan bilis soup.

    The variety of colour of Liang tau Hoo that added to the whitish ikan bilis soup makes the entire colour of the soup very alluring and impressive.

  3. Nowadays, ikan bilis in not clean. The dirt , salt, sand and other impurities are not properly sieved out before they are sold. They are left in the ikab bilis to add to the sack weight so that they fetch more money when they sold it to wholesaler.

    It is important to wash and rinse the ikan bilis several times , as there may be insects like flies have run and left their feces on it. Fly is the one that is attracted to fish smell. The salt on the ikan bilis cannot prevent flies and other insets and even birds and chicken to run over the rattan trays of ikan bilis that is placed on the open ground waitng to sun under the sun.

    This is similar to how salted fish is dried too. Even cats and dogs may stumper on the trays of ikan bilis that is laid on the ground to dry. And owrse, they can urinate on it.

    So it is important to wash several times until the rinsed water is clear. It is important to pick out the impurities.

    Finally, if possible, have a a hot water rinse over the tap water rinsed ikan bilis to remove any surface impurities like urine etc on them before finally soaking them in a bowl of tap water.

    This is to allow the ikan bilis the time to dissolve out the salt that is still inside of the ikan bilis. A longer time will remove quite a lot of salt from it.

    If one wants to have more salt removed, especially some parents want the ikan bilis to be cooked for baby or young toddler which their young kidneys cannot normally take in any loading on salt, try to use reverse osmosis methology.

    In reverse osmosis, one has to add some salt to the bowl of tap water that is soaking the ikan bilis.

    By reverse omosis principle, the salt in the water draws out the salt from the ikan bilis.

    This principle can also be applied in removing salt on salted vegetable. If one wants to reduce some salty from the salty vegetable, the reverse omosis is the way to do it.

    If no salt is in the bowl of water, the process of extracting out salt from the soaked ikan bilis will be slow and because of no salt in the water, very little salt in the ikan bilis is removed.

    It is not a effective way to know if the salt is indeed removed and left. How much salt is removed from the ikan bilis depends on the time taken and the salt amount.

    The longer the time that the ikan bilis is soaked in the bowl of salted tap water, the more salt is removed.

    The more salt that is added to the tap water in the bowl of saoked ikan bilis, the more salt is removed from the ikan bilis.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, it’s really an informative and good read :)

      There are two camps regarding the issue of washing the ikan bilis. One camp believe that soaking and several rinses of water is necessary to remove the impurities; while the other camp believe in light washing so that the broth is still flavourful. I do something in between :)

  4. I love the meatballs! They make it super comforting and delicious!

  5. Hi,
    I have an award for you. Please collect it from my blog: http://passionbaker.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-lovely-blog-award.html

  6. Love to have a bowl of this delicious homemade soup. Looks soul warming and delicious.

  7. I am so intrigued by this soup! Melon and anchovies and pork, I love trying new flavor combinations and this is definitely one I am going to have to put my hand to. Can’t wait to see how it comes out :)

  8. This looks very very yummy, Wiffi! I like it that you made your own pork balls. Great job :D)!

  9. This soup is promised me comfort! When I saw the soup pouches, they remind me of those that you gave me! I have been using them, they are handy! Thanks again!

  10. Hi, do u know where i can get the disposable soup pouches in singapore? I used to get them from Daiso but last I checked they don’t have it anymore.

    • Try a different outlet. I see them frequently at Daiso (SG). Maybe it was just temporarily OOS. Those neighbourhood provision shops sell soup pouches too but usually $3+!

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