Pressure Cooker Winter Melon Pork Ribs Soup-Super easy and comforting pork ribs soup is pressure cooked with winter melon and other veggies. Perfect one-pot meal for the cooler days.
What is winter melon ?
It is known as 冬瓜 (dong gua) in Mandarin. Some call it winter melon in English. It is also known as ash gourd, ash pumpkin, tallow gourd, wax gourd, or winter squash. There are also many different names in South Asia.
Mature winter melon tastes plain on its own. It has the same texture similar to zucchini or other squashes. The flesh is white in color (perhaps that’s why it’s called winter?). The texture changes to almost transparent once cooked.
I hauled this 10 pounder home for $2 from the farmer’s market and couldn’t be happier.
Winter melon soup is not just delicious but also offers several health benefits. It is low in calories and fat, making it a popular choice for those seeking a wholesome and light meal. The melon itself is packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, promoting digestion and overall well-being.
Ingredients and Variations
While the core of winter melon soup consists of winter melon, the soup can be enriched with a variety of other ingredients, making it a versatile and adaptable dish. The most common ingredients include:
1. Protein: Chicken or pork ribs are often added for a hearty and flavorful base.
2. Vegetables: Carrots are often included but you can also use shiitake mushrooms or black fungus add an earthy depth to the soup.
3. Dried Scallop: I didn’t use any dried scallop in this recipe but if you have some, adding dried scallops or conpoy contribute an umami-rich seafood flavor.
4. Ginger: Sliced ginger is used to infuse the broth with its warm and aromatic essence.
5. Dates: Black dates or red dates can be used to sweeten the soup a little bit without overpowering it
Variations of winter melon soup exist across different regions in China. Some versions incorporate ingredients like tofu or wolfberries for added texture and nutrition. Others may include dried shrimp, dried oysters, or Chinese ham for a more complex flavor profile.
Pressure Cooker Winter Melon Pork Ribs Soup
- 1 lb pork ribs cut into sections
- 2 lbs winter melon
- 2 large carrots cut into large chunks
- 2 Chinese black dates or you can use 4 large red dates
- 1 inch ginger peel and smashed with heavy objects
- 6 cups water
Seasonings: (adjust to your preference)
- Fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
- 1 stalk green onion finely chopped
- You can ask the butcher to cut the pork ribs into smaller sections since they have the tool to do so. Bring a pot of water to a boil and then place the pork ribs in there and let it boil for 5 minutes. Drain off water and clean with water to remove any impurities
- Peel the skin of the winter melon, remove seeds, and cut into large chunks, about 2-3 inches chunks. Peel the carrot and cut into large chunks too
Cooking with Instant pot:
- Place the ribs, carrots, winter melon, ginger, black dates, water, and seasonings in the inner pot of the instant pot. Secure the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press "pressure cooker" and then "high pressure". Set the timer to 15 minutes
- When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure. Carefully unlock the lid. Be careful of the steam coming out. Season with salt to your taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and chopped green onion if you like
Cooking on the stove:
- Rinse the pot you boil the pork ribs in earlier. Place the ribs back in there along with other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for the next 45 minutes
- Check to see if the ribs are tender and the winter melon is fork tender. If they are, you are done cooking. If not, continue to cook a bit longer. Have a taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preference. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and chopped green onion
What to cook with winter melon ?
Soup is the most commonly seen usage of winter melon in cooking. Winter melon can also be used for stir-frying, making winter melon tea, winter melon candy, winter melon juice.
How to cut winter melon ?
1. Half the winter melon for easier handling. For a really big one like the one I had, I had to cut into 3 sections
2. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds
3. Peel the skin with vegetable peeler
4. Cut it into desired sizes and shapes according to recipe
Chinese winter melon soup is a testament to the balance and harmony that Chinese cuisine strives to achieve. The combination of winter melon’s subtle sweetness and the richness of other ingredients results in a dish that is both comforting and nourishing. Whether enjoyed as a standalone meal or as part of a larger Chinese feast, winter melon soup stands as a testament to the culinary artistry of Chinese cuisine and its ability to elevate simplicity to elegance.
Did you make this pressure cooker winter melon pork ribs soup recipe?
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