Winter Melon Barley Soup 冬瓜薏仁汤

Straight after I tried a winter melon soup in a Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant at the South Bay recently, I had the immediate urge to cook something similar at home. It was a clear soup, light yet super flavorful, filled with natural sweetness and delicious savoriness, quite different from the usual winter melon soup I cook at home. I did not have the exact recipe and while I sipped it, had to look hard at each scoopful of soup (till the bottom of the soup pot) for ingredients that have gone into the soup. I saw large cubes of winter melon, huge chucks of pork, thin slices of orange peel and little pearls of barley. OK. I can make this. And, I will make this.

I was planning to cook this soup and a week after, coincidentally saw another super interesting idea related to winter melon at Taste Hong Kong's Snowy Winter Melon Soup. Alright! I am going to pulverize my winter melon to get that snowy silky texture in this "new" soup that I am going to cook at home!

Winter Melon Soup with Barley 冬瓜薏仁汤
Ingredients: some chicken backs/bones (for chicken stock), about 6-8 small chopped pieces; 3-4 thin slices of orange peel (Note: I use fresh orange peel. Remove white rind from the orange peel if possible to reduce bitterness); 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley, soaked the night before; about 3-4 cups of pulverized winter melon; sea salt and (if preferred) ground white pepper to taste; cilantro to garnish

Directions: Blanch the chicken in water with ginger to remove the scum/blood. In a pot of water (just enough to submerge the chicken), add the blanched chicken and barley and allow it to cook to a boil. When boiling, add the orange peel, turn down the heat and continue to simmer till the barley is almost cooked. Add the winter melon and allow it to cook - about 10-15minutes, then the winter melon turns from white to transparent, and it's done. Add the cilantro, then sea salt to taste.

On a side note, my friend has advised me to drink more soups during my recovery process to improve blood circulation of the body that will in turn speed up the healing process of my elbow and other bruises (both my knees, and right thigh are bruised as well). Now, soup is really multi-purposeful! Healing, comfort, satisfying.


Do you have any go-to food when feeling down/unwell? For healing or comfort purpose?

Sharing this soup-based dish with Souper Sunday, and Hearth and Soul.

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