Winter Melon, Bidding Summer Farewell
We are into the autumn, aren't we? This time of the year it is most often associated with a bout of melancholic heaviness. So the best is to go light with everything we do. Walk a little lighter. Talk a little lighter. Breathe a little lighter. And, most of all, eat a little lighter...
Winter melon (冬瓜) is such a name. It's not sweet but it's still called melon. It grows only during the summer and early autumn but its name is thoroughly misleading. If anyone knows why, please please explain to me.
This melon is as obsessive as other green creatures that I've listed at this blog. I can easily think of ten different ways to cook it. Its translucent and succulent nature leaves a touch of tenderneess in the mouth. In Asian cooking, it is believed that the melon works as a coolant for the inner body temperature. Making soup with night-fragrant flowers (telosma cordata, 夜来香), it is the best cure for the heat and the strain.
1. winter melon, a ½ inch slice is enough for myself;
2. a small bunch of night-fragrant flowers;
3. a piece of Japanese dried scallop;
4. small amount of Chinese aged ham, finely shredded; and
5. a piece of Chinese duck egg yolk.
Slice off the skin and seeds of the melon. Chop it into small cubes. Night-fragrant flowers (name speaks for itself!) should be washed and sit ready.
Bring scallop and ham to a slow boil for ½ hour, with ½-¾ litre of water. This will be the soup base. Throw the egg yolk and boil for another 10 minutes. Add a small pinch of sea-salt.
Throw the melon in and bring the heat to medium for a couple of minutes, just when the cubes begin to turn translucent. Last go the flowers and let them be cooked for no more than 2 minutes.
I love this soup so much. Now the summer has quietly gone but the heat still lingers. I may only be able to get the last few slices of winter melon. Feelings are a little mixed right now. I'm not sure if it is the summer that I miss or the last piece of winter melon that I feel sad about.