Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Seafood Winter Melon Chinese Soup

This soup is often considered a superior soup in Chinese restaurants. It has the natural goodness of winter melon or white gourd (Dong Gua) and the natural sweet flavor of seafood. Yum! In restaurants, it is often served like this: in carved winter melon bowls.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Even if I did not carve my own winter melon bowl. I assure you, this soup tastes like the soup served in restaurants and maybe even better. I have more seafood than "fillers" that's why!

In restaurants, they also claim that they serve double boiled soup. That is, after cooking the soup, they ladle the soup into the winter melon bowls and then steam the whole bowl (with soup and all) for several hours. If they really do this, then it is the authentic Cantonese soup cooking. However, sometimes, I wonder if they really do that, because if they really steam the whole winter melon and the soup, how come the ingredients are not tender as expected, and the soup is not as flavorful as expected?

Anyway, what I did is not the double-boiled technique. But it tastes just as good. If you want the double-boiled technique, just ladle the soup into the winter melon bowl, or another bowl if you do not have the winter melon bowl. And then, steam the whole bowl (with the soup) again. But then, this is a busy mother's kitchen, so simmering the soup once is enough for now. :)

250 gms, shrimps, shelled, deveined, chopped
5 T dried scallops, soaked in hot water for an hour
200 gms fish fillet, chopped

3 slices of ginger, shredded
4 T minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
2 T Chinese cooking wine
250 gms winter melon, skin removed, pitted, chopped into small cubes
6 C chicken or pork broth

5 T cornstarch dissolved in 5 T water
2 eggs, well-beaten
drops of sesame oil
green onions, chopped, for garnish

1. In a hot wok or cooking pan, saute the ginger until fragrant. Saute the onion and garlic until fragrant.

2. Add in the fish fillet, dried scallop and shrimps. Saute until they change color. Add in the winter melon pieces. Add in the Chinese cooking wine. Wait until the sauce boils and some alcohol evaporates. Add in the broth.

3. Let boil and simmer for 30 minutes or more.

4. When ready to serve, bring the soup to boil. Add the cornstarch solution while stirring continuously. Let boil and let the soup thicken. Add in the beaten eggs while stirring continuously to get the "dispersed flower" egg effect.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat. Add in drops of sesame oil and garnish with chopped green onions before serving. Serve hot.

Winter melon is actually a big melon, usually more than a foot long. A small family cannot finish one entire melon, so I do not usually buy this fruit. (yes, ma'am, it is a fruit even if it is cooked as a veggie.) It is just fortunate that I was able to spy a grocer who was selling cut-up winter melon slices. Winter melon is favored by my grandma, because, according to traditional Chinese medicine, it can help alleviate mild urinary tract problems. According to Wiki, it is high in Vitamin B and dietary fiber.

Maybe, if I have more time, I will cook this the traditional double-boiled method in that winter melon bowl. I'm sure it is going to be a wonderful experience.

Sharing this delicious, hot and flavorful soup with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, now headed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. This week's hosts are Dee and her crew at the Daily Tiffin. To see last week's delicious round-ups, please check out Marija of Palachinka.


Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful. The thought of carving my own winter melon bowl is incredibly intimidating, but the soup looks so delicious!

Anonymous said...

It's really nice to have a wife and mom who cares about her family and cooks delicious and nutritious meals. That wintermelon seafood soup looks really wonderful and I bet tastes really good too.

Your husband and kids are lucky to have you.

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

I love the musk melon...n the presentation is great :)

noobcook said...

I love thick soups like this! I've always made winter melon soup the clear soup way, yours is more work but much, much more tasty :D

Lori Lynn said...

How absolutely elegant!

Maggie said...

This looks wonderful! I'd love to try making it myself.

Laurie Constantino said...

Very interesting. I've never tried winter melon, but you make it sound very appealing.

Maria Verivaki said...

i think this soup looks marvellous - i dont think i;ve ever seen winter melon, but it definitely sounds exotic

Anonymous said...

What's winter melon in tagalog? This looks so familiar but I can't put my finger on it.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

I agree, Fearless Kitchen! Carving a winter-melon seems daunting. I suppose this will need time and patience :)

Wow! Thanks Jonnek! If only my family is as appreciative as you!!! :)

Thanks Navita! :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Hi Noobcook! I know winter-melon is always cooked in clear soups, but I don't know why I prefer them in thick soups. I think its more delicious this way! :)

Thanks Lori Lynn!

Thanks Maggie!

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Hi Laurie! I hope you get to try winter melon. I'm sure you'll love it! :)

Hi Maria! I didn't know winter-melon is exotic. In fact, it is called winter melon because it is still available in winter. So I thought it is available everywhere! :)

Hi Jude! I think it is called kundol - but not the candy.

Anonymous said...

Love the soup!& the way u presented it.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks, Soma! :)

Unknown said...

Oh, this blog is really amazing!!! it catched my attention since the first time that i saw it and i must to say i spend a great time reading, because i usually like to discover new things. Really nice blog. I Love melon because it is a fruit that nourishes and hydrates the skin. So if you want to see the best benefits is better to consume frequently.
the melon is a great alternative when you are doing diet, because melon can help you to get the weight that you want.

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Dennison Uy said...

I have the same question. What is winter melon in Tagalog? Is it really kundol?

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