Chinese Soup – Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon

Chinese Soup - 001 Winter Melon n Ham Soup edited re-sized

A classic Chinese soup, usually served at restaurants. An ordinary summer vegetable which is strangely called Winter Melon 冬瓜 or Tong Gwa is paired with an exotic ingredient – Chinese-style ham. Chinese hams are dry cured and very salty.  The most famous of the Chinese hams are the Jinhua hams from  Zhejiang (金華火腿) and Yunnan’s Xuanwei hams. The closest American ham would be country ham or Smithfield ham. Several other ingredients are also added to make this a delicious and satisfying soup. Mushrooms and dried scallops.

Nothing but a home-made full bodied Pork or Chicken stock must form the base of this soup if you are desiring the satisfaction of a warm, nourishing and fragrant bowl of this soup. Precious posts explain how to make such stocks.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the winter melon detoxifies our bodies, helps in digestion and gets rid of mucus and phlegm. What good reasons to include this soup when you menu plan!

Some comments about the Ingredients

Chinese Soup - 002 Winter Melon n Ham Soup edited re-sized

  • Meat Stock. You can use either Chicken or Pork stock. Click here for the recipe for Home-made Chicken Stock and Click here for Pork Stock.
  • Jing Hua ham. Purchase these from those shops which specialise in Chinese ingredients in Chinatown. At Chinese New Year, you may see it being be sold as a whole leg or in chunky pieces.

Preparation of Ingredients

Chinese Soup - 003 Winter Melon n Ham Soup edited re-sized

Photo above shows you how to prepare that thick slice of winter melon and how large each piece of melon should be. It is preferable to buy a whole small winter melon if that is available. If you have a melon baller, use that to create attractive looking balls of winter melon for your soup.

Cooking the Soup

Chinese Soup - 004 Winter Melon n Ham Soup edited re-sized

STEP 1.  Into a large stock pot, add 400 to 500 ml of home-made chicken or pork stock and 1 litre water. Bring to rapid boil over high heat. Add all the other ingredients except the seasoned minced pork, cover and continue to boil over medium high heat. Once boiling point is reached again, lower heat to simmer for about 20 mins.

HINT: leave cover at an angle to allow steam to escape and watch to make sure soup does not boil over.

Chinese Soup - 005 Winter Melon n Ham Soup edited re-sized

STEP 2. Add seasoned mince pork by teaspoonfuls into the boiling soup. Continue cooking for another 10 mins. Add salt to taste. Serve in either large soup bowl Chinese style or in individual bowls.

RECIPE

Serves 6 persons

Ingredients:

  • One thick slice of winter melon (weighs about 850 gms) Prepared as shown above.
  • 150 gm minced pork/chicken
  • 3 dried scallop, rinsed and drained
  • halve a can of Chinese straw mushrooms, sliced
  • 20 gm wolfberries/goji berries
  • 20 to 30 gm shredded Jin Hua ham (金華火腿)
  • 1 Tbsp fish or light soya sauce

Marinade for Meat balls. In a medium bowl, add to the minced pork/chicken and mix well

  • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • pinch of sugar,
  • 2 dashes of white pepper,
  • 1 tsp corn starch, a little oil.

Method:

1. Prepare all the ingredients as shown in the photos above. Season the minced pork/chicken.

2.  Into a large stock pot, add 400 to 500 ml of home-made chicken or pork stock and 1 litre water. Bring to rapid boil over high heat. Add all the other ingredients except the seasoned minced pork/chicken and continue to boil over medium high heat. Once boiling point is reached again, lower heat to simmer for about 20 mins.

3. Add seasoned mince pork/chicken by teaspoonfuls into the boiling soup. Continue cooking for another 10 mins. Add salt to taste. Serve in either large soup bowl Chinese style or in individual bowls.

Serving Suggestions

Quick meal.This soup is a good accompaniment for One Dish Meals like

1. Chinese Fried Rice Click here ;

2. Yellow Fried Noodles Click here.

Expecting company? Depending on the number of people and their dietary preference, suggestions of other dishes to serve are listed below. HINT: Try to use those ingredients that are currently in the fridge, freezer or larder. A sample weekly marketing checklist can be found here, click.

Seafood dishes

1. Dry Assam Seafood. Click here

2. Fried Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. Click here.

3. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked).  Click here.

Meat dishes

1. Beef Rendang (spicy). Click here

2. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.

3. Chicken Breasts with ketchup. Click here.

4. Paper-wrapped Chicken (Baked). Click here.

5. Pari Pari Style Chicken Wings. Click here.

Vegetable Dishes

1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.

2. Spinach in Broth with 3 types of eggs. Click here.

3. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.

4. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.

Dessert

A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make a dessert like one of the 2 listed below? Any of them is most suited to our hot tropical climate.

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.

4. Sago Pudding. Click here.

5. Orange Agar Agar. Click here.

6. Caramel Custard. Click here.

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2 responses to “Chinese Soup – Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon

    • I am so glad Janet. Thank you! Future posts for Chinese Soup will be Fish Balls with Tung Ho as I know that a good bowl of clear soup at the end of the day aids relaxation.

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