Pork,  Soup,  Under $2

Chinese Soup: Wintermelon Soup with Pork Balls

1 Sept- Wintermelon Soup with Pork Balls

You know what “they” say about eating cooling soups on hot days? Believe “them”, because it is true.. the heatiness in your body really does go away with a bowl of wintermelon soup!

I have never really understood ingredients with “cooling” or “warming” properties. All I know by hearsay is that wintermelon, waterchestnut, barley, etc, are “cooling” and longan, red dates, and meats like mutton are “heaty”. No wonder “people” always say taking Soup Kambing will result in nose bleed! And did you know that according to this website, ginger and garlic are considered “heaty” food too? For an extensive list of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs with hot and cold properties, check this page out too. Now I know why Ah-mm kept feeding me 金银花 (Honeysuckle flower) when I was a pimply kid in primary 5. You know what “they” say about old people knowing best? They really do!

So I decided to cook wintermelon soup with pork balls the other day because I was bored of my vegetable soup, and figured Ah-mm, 88 and Jason must be too. I also got some waterchestnuts because if you wanna be cool, you might as well go all the way, right?

Makes 4 servings

What I used:

1 disc wintermelon, skin discarded and cut into approx 1-inch pieces (about $0.85 to $1 from supermarkets)
1 small piece dried cuttlefish
12 waterchestnuts, peel and chop 6 of them and leave the rest whole
200g minced pork, marinated with: A) half teaspoon light soy sauce B) a splash of chinese cooking wine C) sesame oil D) half teaspoon corn starch E) a dash of pepper
1.5 litres water
2 honeydates
Light soy sauce, to taste

1. Mix the chopped waterchestnuts into the marinated minced pork and set aside til later.
2. Place cuttlefish, whole waterchestnuts, honeydates, wintermelon and water into a pot and bring to boil. Lower flame and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Season with light soy sauce and do a taste test.
4. Increase flame to medium. When soup is bubbling gently, shape minced pork into balls and add one by one into the pot. Cook for another 3-5 minutes and soup is ready. Easy!

How much I spent:

$0.95 for wintermelon
$0.50 for cuttlefish
$1 for waterchestnuts
$2.20 for minced pork
$0.40 for honeydates
Everything else from my pantry

Total cost per serving: $1.27


You can add some cai xin if there’s no other veggie dish on the dinner table. Alex (my eldest brother) loved the soup and why wouldn’t he? The honeydates and cuttlefish lent a savoury touch, and the wintermelon and waterchestnuts made the soup subtly sweet. Not only does this simple soup win you over in terms of taste, because of its “cooling properties” this will be great for Mondays and your rising temper. Try this tonight!

(p/s- Please eat your soup, not drink it!)