Although it looks like a watermelon, a winter melon is really a marrow or wax gourd. It is said that winter melons with a good covering of white powder are best. The delicate flesh becomes almost translucent when cooked and tastes a little like marrow.
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
250 g (9 oz) winter melon, rind and seeds removed
750 ml (3 cups) chicken and meat stock
150 g (5½ oz) Chinese ham or prosciutto, chopped
1. Soak the dried shrimp in boiling water for 1 hour, then drain. Cut the winter melon into small pieces.
2. Bring the stock to a rolling boil in a large clay pot or saucepan. Add the dried shrimp, winter melon and ham. return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper. Serve hot.