Bowl of Fuzzy Melon and Bean Threads
(click to enlarge)

Fuzzy Melon with Bean Threads
China - Hong Kong

Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
3 w/rice  
**
1/2 hr  
Prep
Very commonly made at home, but so familiar it has largely escaped the notice of cookbook writers. Quick, easy to make, a good light main dish for 3 or an interesting side dish for 5. It is quite mild, so can accompany dishes that aren't.



1
2
2
1
1
1
1/2
1/4
1/2
1/2
1
#
T
oz
T
T
T
T
t
c
t
t
Fuzzy Melon (1)
Dried Shrimp (2)
Bean Threads (3)  
Ginger root
Shallot
Oil
Rice Wine (4)
Pepper (5)
Water
Sugar
Salt
Prep   -   (20 min)
  1. Scrape FUZZY MELON with the backside of your prep knife so as to remove only the fuzzy outer skin. Slice about 1/8 inch thick and cut the slices into strips about 1/4 inch wide and about 1-1/2 inches long.
  2. Soak DRIED SHRIMP in water to cover for about 15 minutes (see Note-2). Drain and set aside.
  3. Put BEAN THREADS in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over and let them soak for about a minute, then pour out the water and replace with cool water for 15 minutes or so. Drain and make a few cuts through the bundle so they aren't too long.
  4. Chop SHALLOT fine. Slice GINGER very thin and chop very fine, Mix.
RUN   -   (8 min)
  1. Heat OIL in a wok or spacious sauté pan and sir in Shallot Mix and Shrimp. Fry stirring until aromatic.
  2. Stir in Fuzzy Melon, Rice Wine, Pepper and 1/2 cup Water. Mix well and bring quickly to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until melon just starts to become translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Check that there's enough liquid and stir in Salt and Sugar. Stir in Bean Threads and cook over moderately high heat, turning a couple of times, just until bean threads are heated through.
  4. Serve hot.
NOTES:
  1. Fuzzy Melon:   This is an immature winter melon. Most Asian recipes presume they're about the size of a cucumber and weigh about 1/2 pound, but here in Southern California they're quite a bit larger. For more information see my Fuzzy Melon page
  2. Dried Shrimp:   Measure is for small ones whole. Find them in markets serving Asian, Mexican and South American communities. The photo shows them per the original recipe, but since Americans aren't accustomed to sharp pointy things in their food, you may want instead to run them in your spice grinder and toss the powder in just before the melon.
  3. Bean Threads:   Don't confuse mung bean threads with the very similar looking rice sticks, they cook quite differently.
  4. Rice Wine:   Use a good, drinkable Chinese rice wine, not that horrid salted "cooking" version. If you don't have this, use a Dry Sherry. Sake is made from rice but is not considered a good substitute. For details see our Chinese Rice Wine page.
  5. Pepper:   The Chinese don't like little black specs, so they use White Pepper. Black Pepper has more flavor, and that's what I use, but then I'm one of those despised barbarians.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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