Warm and comforting soup for winter—Winter Melon soup with ribs and other options you like.
Winter melon also known as Ash Gourd is quite popular in China. We grow several winter melon vines almost every year when I was still young. I did not like it previously when we were not so rich in food especially meats. Winter melon usually was in large size and we might have it on dining table for several days. And what’s worse, there is no unique or special taste of it.
But my mind changes a lot after cooking the winter melon chunks with meat, including meatballs, hams and ribs etc. The fat can stimulate the freshness of the winter melon and on the contrast; winter melon makes the meat brighter and less greasy.
For most of the soup recipes, I use high pressure cooker or maybe instant pot is a more familiar term. Electric rice cooker and high pressure cooker are the most important small tools in Chinese kitchen. And they are really excellent assistants. If you do not have one, I highly recommend buying yourself one. During my working day, I finish all the cooking staff within 30 minutes, usually a typical Chinese menu including a meat dish, a vegetable stir fry, a salad and a soup. Rice cooker is steaming rice while high pressure cooker is either making a soup or braising a red cooked pork belly. I may have my bread machine start working for the next breakfast.
High-pressure soups are really super easy and taste great. The bones and meat are so well cooked that the meat can be easily shred from the bone. And it is so quick!!! For normal soups, at least 45 minutes to 1 hour stewing is required. With high pressure cooker, usually 25 minutes is enough.
By the way, if you fall in love with the unique taste of winter melon, you should try winter melon tea in summer.
- 1 pound winter melon, remove the skin and cut into cubes
- 2 large ribs cut into sections
- 3-4 red dates
- 1 teaspoon dried shrimp
- Green onion, chopped for garnishing
- Coriander, chopped for garnishing
- 1 thumb ginger, smashed
- pinch of salt as needed
- Place ribs in clean water, bring to boil and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Transfer out and rinse under running water.
- Cut the rind of winter melon and then cut into large chunks.
- Place red dates, dried shrimp, smashed ginger, ribs and winter melon with enough water in high pressure cooker; cook for 15 minutes after boiling. Or you can use a stew pot or slow cooker; cook until the ribs and winter melon are soft.
- Add salt before serving
- Place some chopped green onion and coriander at bottom. And scoop the soup to serving bowl.
Winter melon needs to be matched with meat, bones or ham. There are several options:
Winter melon soup with fresh meatballs
Winter melon soup with ham, black mushrooms and dried shrimp