It is harvesting season in Canada and this is the best time to bring fresh hairy melon from your garden to the kitchen. Hairy melon comes in cylinder shape of about 2-3 inches in diameter, with hairy green skin, and are picked for vegetable use when young. The white flesh is firm and mildly flavored. Since there is not too much taste from the melon, it is best to braise it in chicken stock.
- Make sure the melon is firm to touch, with dark skin and hair
- Use home-made chicken stock when possible
- Use fresh shiitake mushroom if you can’t buy the dry variety
Hairy melon 2x (peel skin and cut to 2-inch length)
Dry Japanese mushrooms 4 caps (soak in water overnight)
Dry scallops 2x (soak in water overnight)
Chicken stock 4 cups
Fresh ginger 1 slice
Green onion 1x (chopped)
Oyster sauce 2 teaspoons
Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon
Fish sauce 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar 1/2 teaspoon
Corn starch water 2 teaspoons of corn starch mix with 4 teaspoons of water
Bring chicken stock to boil, add ginger plus the soaked mushroom and dry scallop. Put in oyster sauce, salt, sugar and fish sauce to the chicken stock. Also don’t throw away the water you use to soak the mushroom and scallop. Put it in the pot as well.
Slowly add the cut hairy melon to the stock and bring it back to boil. Cover the pot with a lid but leave a large gap to allow steam to escape. Turn stove down to medium and allow to braise for 45 minutes. The liquid should reduce to half and the melon should become tender.
Use a small strainer to remove the braised hairy melon to your serving plate one by one carefully. Return any excessive sauce from the plate back to the pot.
Turn stove back to high and further reduce the sauce to half increase its intensity. Add the corn starch water to thicken the sauce and pour on top of the melon on the serving plate. Sprinkle some scallions (chopped green onion) on top as garnish.
Use fresh shiitake mushroom if you can’t find dry mushroom from your local market. However you don’t need to braise the fresh mushroom for 45 minutes. Add the chopped fresh mushroom in the last five minutes. The dry scallop can greatly enhance the taste of the dish but it is expensive to buy and not every store has it in stock.