This is the start of the “Quick Boil Series” of soups. It was requested by a friend who wanted to know how to make healthy, but quick soups for those busy-body people. In general, quick boil soups take around 10 minutes to prepare and about 25-30 minutes to boil and contain easy-to-find, supermarket type ingredients that are readily available so not a lot of planning is required. This is one of my favourite quick boil soups – the winter melon. To start, quick boil soups usually require smaller cuts of vegetables or meats (so that they soften quicker and you can extract the flavours more quickly). The winter melon is a classic example of boiling it for around 30 minutes and you’ll find the flesh has become translucent and soft and edible. It’s simply delicious, suitable for the whole family and super easy to make!
Soup Name: Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth
Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜冬菇 玉米 雞熬湯(dōng guā dōng gū yù mǐ jī Áo tāng)
To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.
What you’ll need in the simplest of terms are: dried Chinese mushrooms, a handful of dried conpoys (or scallops), a slice of winter melon, fresh corn, chicken breast and either chicken broth or chicken broth powder. To be honest with you, I don’t really measure or scientifically size the ingredients, I just put whatever amount I feel like depending on what I like to eat – which is more corn and more winter melon, so just go with what you like. It is, after all, your soup.
Start with soaking the mushrooms and dried conpoys. You’ll need a good 5 minutes to get the mushroom stems nice and soft, so for those who don’t eat them or prefer not to eat them, you can cut them off and then quarter or slice the mushrooms thinly. I keep these mushrooms in the freezer and they have been there for 6 months plus and are still great!
During this time, you can begin to boil your soup water. For a family of four, I used about 3 L of water and had plenty to go around. You can then begin to peel and slice your winter melon. In normal old fire Chinese soups, I would keep the skin on, but for quick boils, I would recommend removing the skin. This way, the winter melon softens much quicker, but you can add the skin into the soup for flavour. The winter melons are normally sold like this (if they are the large ones). The vendors or supermarket will already pre-slice them for you, so simply shave the skin off lying it flat on one side.
After that, cube the winter melon so they are literally bite-sized. This makes them quicker to soften and cook and also, easier to eat!
The next things to do are slice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces as well. Keep them cubed and consistent with the size of the winter melons. No real reason other than the fact that it’s symmetrically similar and will also cook faster. You can also slice your mushrooms into cubes or into thin slices as pictured below. Similarly, bite-sized for ease of cooking.
Same for the corn. The smaller the cut of the corn, the quicker it will cook and consistently “small” with the rest of the soup ingredients. In this case, I quartered them.
Once the water boils, throw all the ingredients together. People do ask me why I use boiling water in so many of my soup recipes, it’s because the immediate contact with heat cooks the meat or vegetables faster and prevents too much slow breakdown of the meat overtime and you’re able to save time by boiling it in parts.
Boil on high heat until it really comes to a big boil again – which should be about 5 minutes. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to a medium boil – but leave it covered (in order to maintain some pressure in the pot) for another 20 minutes. At this time, I will add either half a cup of chicken stock or 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon. This way, enough time has passed for the flavours of the ingredients to come out and you can taste how much you want to further season the soup. Don’t forget to taste it along the way! You’ll know it’s close to being done with the chicken breast has turned complete white and opaque and your winter melon is a nice translucent colour.
Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to scoop out the delicious ingredients to eat as part of your hearty soup.
- 2 medium-sized chicken breasts, bite-sized cubed
- 1 2-inch thick slice of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-melon/” title=”fresh winter melon”]winter melon[/url], skinned and bite-sized cubed
- 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/” title=”Fresh corn”]corn[/url], quartered
- 7-8 dried [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-mushrooms/” title=”dried Chinese mushrooms”]Chinese mushrooms[/url], sliced thinly
- 5 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/” title=”Dried conpoy”]dried conpoy[/url]
- 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon
- 3 L of water
- Being by soaking Chinese mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes
- Start to boil your soup water
- Cube chicken breast
- Slice and cube winter melon – don’t throw away the skin (use it in the soup)
- Quarter corn
- Drain mushrooms and remove the stems with a knife of scissors and slice thinly
- When your soup water boils, throw all your cut ingredients into the soup (add the bouillon last)
- Boil on high for 5 minutes
- Reduce boil to a medium-boil for another 20 minutes
- Taste and add chicken bouillon (try 1 teaspoon first)
- Boil for another 5 minutes
- Serve and enjoy!
I personally love winter melon, especially when it’s softened and melts in your mouth! A great quick boil soup for any newbie or professional soup chef. Enjoy and thank you!