Fuzzy Melon is only available in Asian stores and I was introduced to this gourd vegetable when my father in law cooked it in a soup dish long time ago. Its shape looks like a cross between zucchini and the usual cucumber and its outer skin is fuzzy, hence the name. As with all the Yin & Yang teachings in the Chinese cooking, this melon gourd has a cooling effect and is a good dish during summer. Although it is autumn now, my palate still prefer light dishes with subtle tastes and minimum ingredients.
The texture of this melon is suitable for braising and steaming as it is firm before cooking and its lacking of taste makes it easy to pair with other flavors. There is certainly a great amount of juice in it as I didn't have to add additional water at all during the steaming of this dish and the natural juice was extracted through the steaming process and produced its own gravy.
The addition of the chinese preserved radish gives a crunch texture to this dish and I didn't need any additional salt as it is slightly salty in itself. For the stuffing, I used minced pork but minced beef can be substituted if preferred. Simply marinate it with dark soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil and chinese cooking wine just before the stuffing process. I added some minced scallion into the meat mixture while the Chinese preserved radish are diced thinly and added inside the melon cavity before the stuffing of the meat and sprinkled again some on top of the meat before the steaming. I cut the melon into thick slices of approximately 2.5 inches and used a melon scoop to make the cavity. Once steamed, the melon is softened but still holds its shape and structure and the preserved radish goes very well with the meat stuffing itself.
1 medium size fuzzy melon (cut into 8 to 9 pieces equal size of 2.5 inches each)
200 gm minced pork or minced beef
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
pinch of pepper
1 tsp corn flour
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cooking wine
60gm Chinese preserved Radish (wash & cut into small dices)
1 leaf of scallion (minced)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small piece of ginger, minced
corn flour, mixed with water to make corn starch
- Prepare the steaming water.
- Mix the dark soy sauce, pepper,corn flour, sesame oil and cooking wine into the minced meat. Add in the minced scallion.
- Scoop and make cavities inside each slice of melon. Dip finger into cornstarch and spread around the cavity.
- Fill in some of the preserved Radish. Cover with the minced meat mixture, till the surface of the melon. Sprinkle some more radish on top.
- Dip finger into cornstarch and spread around the sides of the cavity hole to seal the meat to the melon. Place all melon pieces into a deep plate to contain the gravy later.
- When the water boils in the steamer, place the plate inside and turn down the heat to medium. Steam for 25 minutes.
- Open the steamer lid and scatter the minced garlic and ginger all over on the gravy that the melon yields and steam for a further 10 minutes. Add steaming water if necessary.
- Remove and serve while hot.