Braised Hairy Melon (Mao Qwa) with Japanese Dry Mushroom and Dry Scallop – 瑤柱冬菇燜毛瓜

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. 

Note:

  • 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
Braised Hairy Melon with Japanese Mushroom and Dry Scallop
Braised Hairy Melon with Japanese Mushroom and Dry Scallop

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

Note:

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. 

Hairy Melon
Hairy Melon
Hairy melon after peeling off skin
Hairy melon after peeling off skin
Cut melon to 2-inch length
Cut melon to 2-inch length
Dry scallop and mushroom before soaking in water overnight
Dry scallop and mushroom before soaking in water overnight
Dry scallop and mushroom after soaking in water over night
Dry scallop and mushroom after soaking in water over night
Julienned mushroom and scallop
Chopped mushroom and scallop in water
Add mushroom and scallop to chicken stock
Add mushroom and scallop to chicken stock
Add melon to chicken stock and bring to boil
Add melon to chicken stock and bring to boil
Braise melon in chicken stock with mushroom and scallop for 45 minutes or until tender
Braise melon in chicken stock with mushroom and scallop for 45 minutes or until tender
Use a strainer to remove braised melon to a serving plate
Use a strainer to bring braised melon to a serving plate
Reduce liquid by half and add corn starch water to thicken the sauce
Reduce liquid by half and add corn starch water to thicken the sauce
Braised Hairy Melon with Japanese Mushroom and Dry Scallop
Braised Hairy Melon with Japanese Mushroom and Dry Scallop
Version without dry scallop
Version without dry scallop

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