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what to do with winter melon other then soup

July 17, 2002

Come on now.. let's see some recipes.. A section of it is begging me to cook it! lol

Comments (39)

  • sanWang

    We also cook them like beef or pork stew, using big winter melon chunks instead of potatoes, add ginger slices and soy sauce. Winter melon can also be pickled in rice/beans pickling pot for year long consumptions.

  • double_delight

    Is 'winter melon' different from 'bitter melon' (goya)?

  • Violet_Z6


    They are very different.

    Here are pictures of "Winter Melon" (Benincasa hispida):


    Here are pictures of "Bitter Melon" (Momordica charantia) :


  • Violet_Z6


    Here are recipes for you to browse: Winter Melon Recipes besides soup.


  • double_delight

    Oh, I see... Some of these I know only by their Japanese name, because my grandma used to grow them. Winter melon = 'to-gan' and bitter melon = 'goya'. Thanks for the clarification!

  • tallredmug

    This is good and easy (at least when my sister-in-law cooks it!)

    Cut winter melon into chunks. Deep fry till soft. In a wok, fry ginger pieces till fragrant or golden. Add winter melon and flavor with soy sauce (and maybe sugar?) It is the best winter melon dish I have ever had!

  • kubotabx2200

    Helen here are three recipes from my wife.

    Recipe #1 Winter melon with preserved duck egg.

    take thin slices of winter melon. You can cut it fancy into a diamond shape or triangle if you like.

    Saute in a little oil. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Put it on the side.

    Boil salty duck egg and take the yoke only of a salty duck egg -- mash the yoke. Add a little warm water. Mix it with the cooked winter melon.

    The egg white part, chop very finely and sprinkle on the top. Then serve. We had this dish last night. Very delicious.

    Recipe #2. "Poor man's Hong Shao meat"

    Cut squares of winter melon 2" on a side. Score it into 9 pieces (like a tic-tac-toe board) but don't cut all the way through. Brown in vegetable oil.

    Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili, sugar, and simmer for a while until tender. Try not to add too much water you don't want the sauce to be watery.

    Recipe #3 Winter melon drink

    Use a lot of winter melons. Cut into cubes boil with brown sugar, drain the juice and serve it as a cold drink.

  • Helen_vancouver

    Thank you Kubota!! The 1st recipe sounds very yummy! I decided to cut my melon and make soup afterall.. Oh! if I only saw your recipe! I guess I'll have to buy another chunk now!

  • Violet_Z6

    Love the recipes! I'm intrigued by the "Winter melon drink", I'll have to try that one for sure...

    Check this out!


  • Helen_vancouver

    can't see picture, Violet. :-(

    I tried the winter melon drink in a can. Didn't taste like anything though:-( Am I missing something a can can't offer??

  • Violet_Z6


    Really? I'm not having a problem here, anyone else?

    I'm of the firm belief that anything made from scratch with fresh ingredients is always better than anything made to keep on a store shelf...

  • Helen_vancouver


    Have you ever made grass jelly from stratch? I've always bought mine in a can. Though my great-grandma used to make it from stratch.. so my mom says.. long lost ancient chinese recipe now, I'm afraid...

  • Violet_Z6

    I have not. But you've got my curiosity going. It's amazing the things we eat from cans that we have no idea how to make from scratch isn't it? Someday I'm going to grow my own wheat, grind it, and make bread. Everyone (esp non veggie gardeners) would have much more of an appreciation for food and fresh ingredients if they'd cut down on eating things out of boxes and bags and cans. Don't you think?

    Here is some info you may find to be in interest:
    "A popular, sweet drink in China and neighboring Asian countries is called "grass jelly." One of the most common plants used to make grass jelly is Mesona chinensis, an herb in the mint family (Lamiaceae). The plants are boiled in water containing potassium carbonate. The juice is cooked and then cooled into a gelatinous consistency. This jellylike material is cubed, mixed with water, syrup and flavorings and consumed as a refreshing drink. It is canned and sold in Asian markets as "grass jelly." According to Cornucopia II by S. Facciola (Kampong Publications, 1998), boiled figs (syconia) from the Asian creeping fig (Ficus pumila) are also used for grass jelly. The figs are picked ripe and placed in a porous bag to squeeze out the juice. The juice is cooked and then cooled into a gelatinous consistency called "pai-liang-fen." The jellylike material is cubed, mixed with water, syrup and flavorings and consumed as a refreshing drink. It is canned and sold in Asian markets as "grass jelly" of "ai-yu jelly." "Grass Jelly From Creeping Fig & Mesona (Lamiaceae)

    In China, the syconia of creeping figs are picked ripe and placed in a porous bag to squeeze out the juice. The juice is cooked and then cooled into a gelatinous consistency called "pai-liang-fen." This jellylike material is cubed, mixed with water, syrup and flavorings and consumed as a refreshing drink. It is canned and sold in Asian markets as "grass jelly" of "ai-yu jelly." According to Cornucopia II by S. Facciola (Kampong Publications, 1998), boiled plants of Mesona chinensis in the mint family (Lamiaceae) are also made into cubes of grass jelly. In fact, cans of grass jelly often list this species on the labels. "

    asian drinks

    "Grass Jelly Drink
    On street corners throughout Asian cities, you will see stalls dispensing cool, thirst-quenching drinks of different kinds, lined up in tall glass containers rather like home aquariums, their straight edges butted together for best use of space. The drinks vary in colour: pale green (pandan flavoured); yellow (chrysanthemum); milky white (soy milk); and invariably there is one which looks quite sinister - clear, deep brown with strands or cubes of translucent blackish jelly in it. This is a very popular choice, because grass jelly is considered a tonic. It has a slight iodine flavour. The fine dark strands float in a lightly sweetened syrup and somehow it is very refreshing and easy to drink....

  • lalithar

    Winter Melon Curry (From Southern India)

    This is a traditional recipe that my grandmother makes. I am growing winter melon this year and hope to make this once a week.


    1. Winter
      melon (De-seeded and cut into small cubes) -Â 3-4cups cups

    2. Fresh
      or frozen grated coconut  ½ cup. You can substitute dry unsweetened coconut
      for this. All readily available in Indian grocery stores.

    3. Green
      chillis (thai or Serrano) Â 3

    4. Cumin
      Â 1 tbsp

    5. mustard
      seeds  1tsp

    6. Oil Â

    7. rice/
      rice flour for thickening  2 tsp

    8. Red
      chilli pods  2

    9. Turmeric
      Â 1 tsp.

    10. Lentil
      (yellow)  ½ cup  pre-soak for 30 mins.


    Cook winter melon pieces and the pre-soaked lentils with
    turmeric with just enough water to cover it. Add salt to taste. Grind coconut,
    green chillies, cumin, rice/ rice flour (thickening agent) into a smooth paste/
    sauce in a mixer with some water. When the winter melon feels cooked, add the
    paste and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat. Heat the oil in a work/
    small saucepan. When it is fairly hot, add the mustard seeds and cover with a
    plate. Mustard seeds will pop like popcorn. This will render a wonderful flavor
    to the oil. When you hear the mustard seeds finish popping, empty the contents
    on top of the cooked curry and mix well. Serve with rice.




  • Helen_vancouver

    Thank you Lalitha! I never would've thought of cooking winter melon in curry. What a great idea!

    Violet: I never thought that "grass jelly" came in so many different forms or from different plants, esp. figs! And here I been telling people it's a herbal drink.. Well the mint family is close I guess. lol

    The cans I buy never say what kinda plants it's from... it actually says "water, grass", no latin names.. *sigh*

  • Violet_Z6

    Thanks for sharing that recipe, going to have to try it this season!

    Latin names on cans? Can you imagine!? LOL!

  • winane

    hi lalitha,

    that recipe sounds yummilicious. i love tumeric and mustard seeds along with many other spices used in indian cooking (asefetida, kalonji...etal). i will have to try this dish. i've only had winter melon in soup, chinese style. i also know that a filipino friend of mine said that they make it into a dessert. i'll have to ask her the recipe!
    thanks again

  • chineseherbs

    Winter Melon Seeds, or Dong[1]Gua[1]Ren[2] are sweet and cold.
    They are used in Chinese Medicine to clear heat, expel phlegm and white pus, for Lung Absess or Intestinal abscess. They are also good for Yellow Leukorrhea. The Dose is 10-15g boiled in a decoction for an hour. The seeds should not taken if someone has loose stools or diarrhea. The melon peel can be used for heat stroke and edema due to heat. The dosage is 15-30 g.
    my online herbs pharmacopiea can be found at

  • winane


    Wow...you just brough back memories of my mom making grass jelly from probably the plant you mentioned. Wow that was umm over 30 years ago. That image just popped into my head. I think my grandma taught her. I remember them squeezing out the plants. Wierd how things are brought back to memory.

    Thanks :)

  • Violet_Z6


    You made that from scratch? Wow! If it is at all possible for you to document a recipe, you should definitely share it with us!


  • winane


    Mom will be coming out here to visit me in July. I'll ask her then about the Jelly Grass recipe. Yes she will be with me for a wee bit over a month. It's a good time to get all kinds of recipes from her then :) thanks for the suggestion.

  • ashleysf

    I received this recipe called Kadi or More Kozhambu from a friend from South India. I have tried it many times and it is delicious every time!
    Winter melon cubes (peeled and deseeded) - 3 cups - tip: microwave it for 5 minutes to make the peeling easy
    Beaten plain yoghurt 4-5 cups
    Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
    Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoon
    Grated coconut (fresh) - one cup, soaked if using dry coconut
    Dry red spicy chilli peppers - 3 or more as per taste(substitute with fresh Serrano or Thai peppers if you like it that way)
    Salt to taste

    Optional: Dry Roasted cumin and Cilantro seeds one teaspoon each

    Boil the melon pieces in 2 cup sof water with salt and turmeric. Meanwhile grind the coconut with the peppers, and cumin, cilantro seeds (if using). When the melon is almost cooked, add the paste, boil for 5 more minutes. Now shut off the flame. Let it cool to medium heat. Add the beaten yoghurt in by stirring it into the mixture. Keep stirring lightly until you get a thick liquid consistency.
    Now in a separate pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, add the mustard and when it crackles, add the asafoetida and then pour onto the dish (don't let anything burn!). you may garnish with fresh chopped Cilantro leaves or curry leaves if you desire.
    Serve over rice with any indian curry as accompaniment.
    Tip: If too liquidy, mix a little cornstarch in water and add to the dish and stir over low heat for a few minutes until the dish thickens.

  • winane

    Ashleysf...you are making me very hungry :)

  • ycargow

    I just bought seeds of winter melon, on the package it says "sow Sep ~ Feb" in Chinese, but "suitable planting in autumn and winter", does "planting" mean "sow"?
    so if I sow in September, the plant will sprout and then grow through winter?

  • erinerin

    If you have a dehydrator, try coating 1/2 inch thick pieces of wintermelon in sugar and then drying, it takes quite a while, but tastes like candy..mmmmm

  • macaronicat

    Did you grow all those winter melon and bitter melon? Are they easy to grow? How many plants did you have? I have a winter melon plant on the ground right now, seems like it takes forever for it to get started. I started the seed indoor and planted it outdoor in may, it's just now getting couple buds (I think), I am not sure.

    If you are into pastry making, the candied melon mention by erinerin can be used to make Chinese pastry filling such as "loa pao bang" and others.

  • tailwheel

    Everyone, please keep going. I have 2 vines with 30 fuzzy fruit about two - two and a half inches long. If they survive the summers heat, what will I do? The ONLY way I've ever cooked it is with ham for soup.

  • macaronicat

    Wow tailwheel you have 2 vines going and 30 little fuzzy melons? When did you planted them? Well, we live in high desert, very hot, not much moisture, hope my plant won't die.

  • Violet_Z6

    The pictures are from different sources, not my own garden, but I do have winter melon and bitter melon growing. All melon plants take a while to get going but when they do, you'd better stay out of their way! LOL!

    It usually takes two months before they start flowering and they like the temperatures to be between 75-90 degrees. They're definitely one of the longest to mature, usually 5 months, so just be patient.

    Wow, that's a lot of little ones... I'd be interested in knowing if they all mature into larger fruit.

    There are plenty of recipes out there. Click here for recipes.


  • tailwheel

    I'd love to post pictures, but I don't know how to do it on this forum. I'm deep into hydroponic gardening and am now setting up a program to teach others in our school district how to grow without soil. My winter melons are about 6 weeks old now from the time I planted the seeds. Please remember that using hydroponics is like force feeding them all the nutrients they need. I can almost measure the previous days growth every morning. You ought to see my looooong green bean plants, they're fantastic, only 3 weeks from seed and over 5 feet high.

  • Violet_Z6


    There are many websites were you can upload photos for free and you can have different "photo albums". They have instructions on how to upload, etc.

    Let us know when they're posted so we can see them!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Here's one you can use

  • tailwheel

    Of all the small winter melon on the vines, I can count 7 for sure that have made it to maturity. There may be more that I can't see. After posting here earlier, I reread the seed packet. It says to thin the babys down to 1-2 per vine. I did'nt do that, I must be lucky.

    I finally found a site to post pictures that others can see without too much difficulty. There are two albums there. The July pictures were taken by a friend that has interest in hydroponics and wants to build a garden like mine. The August pictures were taken yesterday 8/20/03. I harvested one of the winter melons last night and of course, we had some ham and made soup. Deelicious!

    Here is a link that might be useful: A look at my garden

  • kim_japan

    Winter melon can be used like watermelon rind to make sweet-sour pickles or other conserves.

    I make a syrup of red perilla leaves (dip leaves in boiling water until they turn green--a few seconds only (discard leaves), add a little lemon juice, then simmer the red liquid with sugar to make the syrup), steam diced (large) winter melon just until cooked, then proceed with winter melon and red syrup as with making watermelon pickle (without the spices) and put in hot jars. This produces an unusual chunky dessert conserve good on ice cream, blancmange, custard, etc. Caution: the winter melon must be thoroughly cooked, or it will ferment in the jars.

    Don't know if red perilla (Japanese: aka-jiso) is available or grows elsewhere, but it is very vigorous, is cultivated widely and reseeds itself in the wild here throughout the summer. It's flavor is unique. Green perilla (shiso; usually served with sushi or sashimi) is not a substitute. I think other uses for winter melon as a sweet can be created, but have not tried yet.

    In India it is candied in two forms, white and yellow (specialties of Agra), as it is in China.

  • mingtea

    hmm. i haven't read all the recipes, but i really like cooled barley water with dried winter melon chunks. you can buy the sweetened chunks dried, or you can dry your own and sweeten to taste with honey.
    you can also flavor barley water with pandan leaves.


  • Amy_the_Gardener

    Can you freeze winter melon chuncks to save them for later use?

  • ntt_hou

    Yes, you can sure freeze them! I was going to post it until I reached to the end of this posting :-)

    My mom does it all the time. Cut them up, discard the seeds, and peel them. Then wrapped them up real good or put them in freeze ziplock bags. You can use it whenever you want. After so many months, it still taste fresh!

    Now go and buy you a big freezer if you don't already have one ;-)

  • nlin0273

    I know how to make ai yu. You have to get a special kind of seaweed. You boil it until the jelly comes out of the seaweed. Then you squeeze the seaweed until this yellow stuff comes out. The you chill it. Mix some lemonade and or fruite cocktail and throw the jelly in.

    Here is a Don Gua recipe:

    Cube a one inch thick section. Stir fry it with some pinch of salt and garlic. Throw in some chunks of pork and three cups of water. Simmer.

    Here is a Ku Gua recipe:

    Cut up the melons cross wise so you have rings. Stuff the rings with seasoned pork like dumpling stuffings. Throw them into a pot of hot boiling water until the meat is done.

  • csadelman

    Does anyone havw the recipe to make Candied Winter Melon? It's used by the chinese to make "tong-sui". Thanks.

  • Violet_Z6


    "Candied (crystallized) fruit has been around since at least the 14th century. Whole fruit or pieces of fruit can be preserved in this manner. Basically the method is simply to place the barely ripe fruit in increasingly stronger solutions of heated sugar syrup, and the syrup gradually replaces the water content of the fruit."


    "Fruit are often candied or crystallised by cooking them in heavy syrup until they become transparent. This is not an easy procedure, since the concentration of the syrup must be carefully controlled. The candying of whole fruits may require successive cooking in ever more concentrated syrups until the required quality is obtained. The syrup must penetrate to the inside of the fruit so that the fruit can be preserved to keep for several weeks at room temperature. In most instances it is easier to purchase commercially glazed fruits when candied fruits are required. Thinner pieces of fruit can however be candied easily. Finely carved or grated fruit makes ideal toppings for desserts or garnishes for many sweet dishes. Certain types of candied fruits also go very well with meat dishes. Candied fruits may also be steeped in liquor for extra flavour.

    The procedure involves the following: (e.g. making candied sliced orange rings):

    Cut approximately 500 g of citrus fruit in 1-cm slices.
    Heat 1 kg of sugar with 1 Litre of water in a shallow pan until dissolved.
    Bring the syrup to the boil.
    Arrange the fruit loosely on a wire rack that fits into a saucepan.
    Attach strings to the rack and lower it into the hot syrup in the saucepan by holding the rack with the strings.
    Press a round of greaseproof paper on top of the fruit to immerse the fruit in the syrup.
    Bring the syrup slowly to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; do not let it boil.
    Take the pan from the heat and allow cooling.
    Leave it in the syrup for 24 hours or until it reaches room temperature whilst leaving the fruit undisturbed.
    Carefully lift the fruit from the syrup and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
    Transfer the fruit to paper towels and leave until dry.
    Store in layered greaseproof paper on an airtight container for up to 3 days or until the surface of the fruit is completely dry and hard."

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