My Poh Poh's winter melon soup was the inspiration to my book, Winter Melon Story. Every time my family would visit her home, along with so many other homemade delectable Toisanese foods prepared for us, we were warmly welcomed with her table set with ready-to-serve winter melon soup.
I bought a winter melon a few weeks ago. Where can one purchase winter melon? If you're in San Francisco, there's a vendor at the Wednesday Civic Center Farmer's market that sells small ~5lb winter melons, perfect for one pot of soup. If you're looking for a larger winter melon to please a larger crowd, I found a ~10lb winter melon at the New May Wah Grocery Market in Inner Richmond. You can purchase them whole and uncut or sliced cross sections. You can call your local Asian grocery market in advance to see if they have them in stock.
You can find the recipe to my own simplified version of winter melon soup below. If you happen to have a winter melon soup recipes you love, please share the love!
Winter Melon Soup
Yields: 6-8 servings
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 roasted chicken
12-14 cups water or until chicken is covered in water in pot
1.5" slice of winter melon, cut into cubes (discard rind and seeds)
1 bunch scallions, thinly cut
5 black mushrooms, cut into slices
1 2" piece of ginger, thinly cut
Place roasted chicken in an 8-quarter stockpot with water. Bring water to boil and bring heat to low to simmer for 3-4 hours.
After simmering, pour broth into a new pot, using a sieve to catch bones and chicken. Skim top for fat. You can also make the broth in advance to let it cool and refrigerate to remove the solidified fat prior to making the soup.
Use 2 cups of broth from the pot to place in a sauce pan. Bring broth to a boil and place scallops in the pan. Turn off heat and soak till softened. Remove the scallops to cool in broth. Once cooled, shred them into small pieces and remove any ligaments.
Bring the remainder of the broth reserves (or just use 8 cups and save the rest for another recipe) in the pot to boil and add the winter melon. Add black mushrooms and ginger. Simmer broth till winter melon is transparent.
Stir in scallions and scallops to the soup just before serving. Add salt to taste.