Winter Melon And Stuffed Fried Tofu Dish (2010-09-11)

I don't understand why winter melon is called winter when it's at its peak in summer.  The summer season is over now (but it's still friggin' hot!), but winter melon is plentiful.  I love winter melon and braising it with stuffed tofu pockets is a dish I grew up eating.

Among the plethora of tofu products in Japan, fried tofu pocket is strangely missing in the market.  So I use tofu sheets in my recipe.  If you have access to fried tofu pockets in your city, use them; they make life easier for this dish.

As usual, ingredients and seasoning amounts are only estimates, even the stuffing and melon amounts are entirely a personal preference.  Use more meat if you want a more meaty dish and vice versa.  The ratio of ground meat to shrimp is about 1:3, but it's also good to use all shrimp meat. 

I often make braised winter melon with only ginger shreds and eat it at room temperature or chilled as a refreshing summer side dish.  Perhaps just braising it with unstuffed fried tofu is great too, I'll have to try that some time.

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

Winter melon, cut into large cubes, 500gm
Ground pork (or chicken) 30gm
Minced shrimp 100gm (shell, devein shrimps, mince finely)
Fried tofu sheets 2
Ginger slices, and some chopped ginger


  1. Season ground meat and shrimp with chopped ginger, pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, sesame oil, 1/2 tsp each of cooking wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch.  Stir vigorously in one direction till the mixture looks sticky.
  2. Pour hot water over tofu sheets to remove excess oil, pat very dry.
  3. Dust tofu sheets with cornstarch, pat down ground meat onto dusted side, stick them together to make a sandwich.
  4. Cut into 12 cubes, panfry them till golden brown on all sides.  Remove.
  5. Heat some oil, stirfry the ginger slices and then the winter melon.  Add enough chicken stock to braise, covered, on medium heat till cooked, about 10 minutes.
  6. Return tofu to the melon, cook covered for another 5 minutes.  Taste and season.
  7. Thicken sauce with cornstarch/water mixture if desired.

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