Winter Melon Soup

Categories: Cold Damp Distressing Spleen, Spleen Damp, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Winter Melon Soup
3-4 Servings

Winter melon, or wax gourd, is a fruit that is cooked and eaten as a vegetable due to its flavor.

1 cup winter melon (1/2 pound)
2 cups chicken broth
4 Chinese dried black mushrooms
2 – 3 slices fresh ginger
1/4 cup cooked ham, diced
1 green onion (green part only) cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the winter melon, remove the green skin, seeds, and the pulp. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. Reconstitute the Chinese dried mushrooms by soaking in hot water for 20 minutes until softened. Squeeze out any excess water.
3. Place the winter melon in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the winter melon is tender.
4. Add the chicken broth, mushrooms, ginger and cooked ham. Add seasonings as desired. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add green onion for garnish. Serve hot.

Variations:
Add barbecued shrimp.
Add other vegetables such as bamboo shoots, carrots, or squash.

(Recipe modified from Rhonda Parkinson on About.com)

TCM Analysis:
Winter melon: Bland, slightly cold; LU, SP/ST, UB. Promote urination, reduce edema, expel phlegm, stop cough, improve metabolism.
Black mushrooms: Neutral, sweet; ST, KD. Strengthen ST, lower blood pressure, tonify qi/blood, clear toxins, promotes digestion, strengthens immunity.
Ginger: Warm, acrid; LU, SP, ST. Release exterior WC, stop nausea/vomiting, reduce inflammation, detoxify.
Ham: Neutral, sweet, salty; KD, SP, ST. Nourish yin.
Green onion: Warm, acrid; LU, LI. Release exterior WC, invigorate blood, drain damp.

Overall, this recipe is for MJ weakness and damp accumulation. Even though the ham is generally not recommended in this pattern, a small amount is added for flavor and as a balance to the other key ingredients.