Monday, February 2, 2009

Braised Winter Melon and Shrimp

I found Winter Melon (it's also called White Gourd, or Tung Qua in Chinese) at a Chinese store, so I made this healthy hearty dish. In Japanese, it's called "togan (冬瓜). The real season of the winter melon is actually summer to late summer, but since this can be kept fresh until winter time, it was named such way. Almost 95% of winter melon's content is water, so some people enjoy it as a "diet" food. It's also supposed to have various health benefits, such as helping the healthy blood circulation, etc.

I made this Chinese style winter melon this.

1lb Winter melon, seeded, peeled, and cut into large cubes
2C Chinese-style stock (I used my homemade pork stock)
1tsp. each minced ginger and garlic
1Tbsp. fermented black beans, rinsed and reconstituted
1tsp. tobanjan (Chinese hot bean paste)
3-4 ea. shiitake mushrooms, quartered
1/2lb shrimp
1tsp. soy sauce
1tsp. oyster sauce
black pepper
sesame oil

Combine the winter melon and the stock in a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the winter melon is tender.
In a wok, saute ginger, garlic and fermented black beans in 1.5Tbsp of sesame oil. Add tobanjan and stir. Add the shiitake and continue stirring until it's almost cooked through.

When it's fragrant, add shrimp and quickly saute. Add the winter melon-stock mixture to the wok. Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a pinch of black pepper.

The dish is really soothing and you feel so good after eating.