Monday, October 18, 2010

Stewed Winter Melon

I'm fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbors. We usually hang out on Friday nights and socialize everyday when the kids get home from school. My next door neighbor is from Canada and she's told me how much her parents loved to garden so when they moved down here she decided to try her hand at it. She planted tomatoes, beans, squash, winter melon and a few other things. All I know I love when she has way too much for them to eat because she brings it over for my husband and I. Neither of us had ever tried winter melon so I wasn't sure what to do with it when she handed me some. I looked online for recipes which resulted mainly in a soup which she also suggested, but then I came across this recipe which seemed simple enough.

I served it with some Sweet and Sour Chicken from a package mix that I like to use since I wasn't so sure at the time if it goes with anything or what. Like I said this is a new learning curve for me.

My neighbor gave me a simple beef recipe to try that goes good with the winter melon so I can't wait to try that next. I debated on bringing some over for her to try to see if I cooked the winter melon correctly and to my surprise she was very pleased with it and said it tasted just like the recipe she had. (Insert happy dance.) To my luck she had made a winter melon soup with a clear broth and cilantro so she sent me home with a small bowl to try.

I have another neighbor that is Asian as well so I thought I would bring them some of my stewed winter melon to taste and to my surprise they also made a soup that night. They used tofu and a chicken broth base with theirs.

Out of the 2 soups we tried my husband and I really liked the clear broth with cilantro. It just had such a clean and smooth taste to it. We tasted the winter melon in it's raw form and it has no taste it's a little firmer then watermelon and when cooked takes on whatever flavors you added to it. Overall I really liked this dish and it's really inspiring to find out what what other flavors I can absorb into the winter melon.

Just as the name implies, Stewed Winter Melon is mainly made of winter melon, a very healthy vegetable. It contains multiple vitamins and trace elements necessary for the human body. Being cold in nature, it is very helpful for supplementing the body fluid and clearing the stomach fire. It also can encourage the starch and sugar in human body to change into heat energy instead of fat. Therefore, it is an ideal food for those who want to lose weight.

Stewed Winter Melon
(Adapted from

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1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon garlic slices
1 teaspoon of salt
3-4 teaspoons of wet cornstarch
1 teaspoon of soy sauce

Step 1: Put the wok on high heat and add in 3/4 wok of water. Add in winter melon pieces when the water is boiling. Boil it for 10 minutes until it turns soft. (There is no real correct texture some people prefer it to be soft and others like a little crunch to it. Just be sure to cut your pieces to the same size so they cook evenly.) Remove it from the wok and put into a basin.

Step 2: Find a small basin or dish. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, chopped green onion and ginger, garlic slices as well as the wet cornstarch. Stir it well with the teaspoon for later use.

Step 3: Pour away the water in the wok, and place the wok over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons oil, swirling to coat sides. Add in the prepared seasoning juice from the above step and stir-fry for 3-5 second until fragrant. Pour in the boiled winter melon pieces and stir-fry for 1 minute until the flavor is absorbed.

Turn off the heat. Ladle the delicious Stewed Winter Melon out of the wok and serve it into a fine porcelain plate.

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