This is a simple Chinese soup recipe that will help you keep your cool, literally!
Winter melon soups are a must have on hot stuffy summer days to help the body stay cool and clear heat. There are a few variations to the Chinese winter melon soup. In my recipe, I make use of several common Asian food ingredients that are well known for their cooling affects on the body. Besides the winter melon, this recipe uses lotus seed, dried lily bulb, and pearl barley to further the heat-relieving function of this soup.
The winter melon, also called “don qua“, ash gourd, or wax gourd, is known to expel heat. It is also known for its ability to detoxify the body.
The lotus seed has a similar ability to clear heat, and it is reputed to be nutritious and restorative to one’s health. Lily bulb likewise clears heat, but they are also known to nourish the lungs. The pearl barley, also called job’s tears, coix seed, or Chinese pearl barley, helps with water retention in the body while clearing away heat. Check the Common Ingredients section of this site in the coming days to learn more about these food ingredients and get tips on buying and preparing them.
Together, the ingredients in this soup recipe create a light savory sweet flavor. It is a great way to beat the summer heat.
- ½ lb of lean pork
- 2 lbs of winter melon*
- 5 oz of raw deveined shrimp with the shell on (or about 10 medium sized ones)
- 1 oz of dried lily bulb (or about ¼ cup)
- 1 oz of lotus seeds (or about 2 full tbsps)
- ½ oz of pearl barley (or about 1.5 tbsp)
- 12 cups of water
- 2 slices of ginger
- ½ tsp of salt
- ¼ tsp of white pepper powder
- Bring a small pot of water to boil to blanch the pork. In the meanwhile, rinse the pork under cold water and cut into 2-inch cubes. When the water is ready, put the pork in for about a minute to quickly blanch it. Set the blanched meat aside and discard the water.
- In a big pot, boil 12 cups of water. While the water cooks, rinse the winter melon and remove any seeds with a spoon. With the skin on, cut the melon to 1.5-inch chunks. Rinse the barley, lily bulb, and lotus seeds under cool water and set aside. Do not soak the lotus seeds. Sprinkle the pepper powder onto the shrimp. Mix well and let marinate.
- When the soup water boils, put in all ingredients except for the shrimp. Cover and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes or until the water boils again. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Set the timer.
- When the timer signals, add the shrimp and cook the soup covered on medium heat for another 2 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked. Avoid over cooking the shrimp. Turn off the heat and add ½ tsp of salt. Stir and serve.