Winter Melon Soup

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Heritage Cooking

Chinese Heritage Cooking

By Christopher Tan and Amy Van

Published 2018

  • About

Aromatics like garlic and spring onion (scallion) are not used in this soup, to allow the gentle, mellow flavours of the stock and melon to shine through. If you are unable to obtain Chinese dry-cured ham, which can be tricky to find sometimes, Spanish serrano ham or Italian parma ham make acceptable substitutes.


  • Pork ribs 300 g (11 oz)
  • Chicken carcass bones 500 g (1 lb oz)
  • Chinese ham 75 g (2⅔ oz), cut into slivers
  • Water 2.5 litres (80 fl oz / 10 cups)
  • Ginger 1 thin slice
  • Winter melon 500 g (1 lb oz), skinned, deseeded and cut into 3-cm (1-in) cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste


  1. Blanch pork ribs and chicken bones in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain well.
  2. Combine ribs, bones, ham and 2.5 litres (80 fl oz / 10 cups) fresh water in a clean pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar. Lower heat and simmer gently for 1½ hours, occasionally skimming off any foam that forms.
  3. Strain stock into a clean pot. If desired, you can pick out the pork ribs and ham pieces to serve with the soup. Bring stock to a boil over medium heat and add ginger and winter melon cubes. Lower heat and simmer, half-covered, over low heat for 40–45 minutes, or until melon pieces are translucent and meltingly tender.
  4. Lift melon pieces out of soup with a slotted spoon, remove their skin, then return flesh to soup.
  5. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve hot.