Scallop and Winter Melon Soup
This unusual Chinese soup features scallops and shrimp, as well as winter melon and bok choy. Winter melon, which is also known as white gourd, is a large fruit which is eaten as a vegetable. The flesh inside is white but not sweet when the fruit is fully grown. The winter melon was cultivated in Southeast Asia originally but is now also grown in South Asia and East Asia. Perhaps you have already tried it in a soup recipe before.
It is very popular in Chinese recipes, which is why we have chosen to include it in this tasty soup. If you are unable to get winter melon, for any reason, then you may use any other type of vegetable in this soup recipe instead. Bell pepper, broccoli or green beans are just some of your options. This soup also contains bok choy which is a nutritious vegetable. This can be replaced with Napa cabbage if you like.
This is a nice soup to make if you want something different from the usual Chinese soups like Chinese chicken soup or wonton soup. You will find the flavor to be light and fragrant rather than bold, which is good for the scallops and shrimp because those flavors are quite mild and you do not want to overpower them. Dried scallops are available from Asian food stores but use fresh or thawed ones if you prefer. You can pan-fry those in a little oil for a couple minutes, then add them to the soup at the end.
- 4 dried scallops
- 2 lbs winter melon
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ¼ chopped bok choy
- ¼ inch sliced fresh ginger
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ lb shelled shrimp
- ½ teaspoon salt
- White pepper, to taste
- Pour the water over the dried scallops and let them soak for at least 2 hours.
- Drain and reserve the soaking liquid.
- Peel the winter melon and remove the seeds.
- Cut it into ½ inch chunks.
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a pot and add the scallops, winter melon, bok choy, ginger, and reserved soaking liquid.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer 5 minutes or until the winter melon is tender.
- Stir in the shrimp, salt and cornstarch mixture.
- Simmer gently until the shrimp are cooked, then taste and adjust the seasoning before serving hot.
This is a colorful soup, as you can see, largely because of the shrimp and bok choy. This is a soup you can adapt if you like, using a different kind of seafood, different vegetables or even different seasonings. Any seafood lover who also likes Chinese flavors will find this soup very tasty. It is thickened up with a cornstarch slurry, and that is something common in Chinese soups. You can use less cornstarch if you want a more watery consistency. Serve this for lunch or dinner if you want to eat something light, or else you may serve it as an appetizer before an Asian meal.
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