Winter melon and ham soup

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.