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Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls

Pork balls (before cooked)

Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls

If you do not have disposable soup poach, use a slotted ladle to remove and discard the ikan bilis after simmering for 15 minutes.

Serves: 3

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins


  • 700g piece of winter melon cut to large cubes (buy the disc section for easier cutting)
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 100g ikan bilis (anchovies) 江鱼仔
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 200g minced pork (or chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce

Marinade ingredients (A)

  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • dash of white pepper


  1. Marinade the pork with the ingredients in (A). Shape into individual meat ball (each about 1 tbsp size). Set aside.
  2. Trim and discard the skin and inner seeds of winter melon. Cut winter melon flesh to large cubes.
  3. Rinse ikan bilis and place them in disposable soup pouches. Place soup pouches, water, winter melon cubes, and ginger in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out the excess broth from the soup pouches and discard. Season with light soy sauce if needed.
  5. When ready to serve, bring stock to a simmer again, then add pork balls, one at a time, making sure they don’t stick to one another. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. Do not simmer the ikan bilis and winter melon cubes for too long as over simmering will result in a bitter broth and mushy melon flesh.
  2. Iikan bilis have varying degree of saltiness. Adjust the seasonings at the end (using light soy sauce or salt) to taste.

Leave a Comment

37 Responses to “Winter Melon Soup with Pork Balls”

  1. pigpigscorner — March 30, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

    Simple and delicious! Ikan bilis stock is so much easier and faster than meat-based soup.


  2. Toto — March 31, 2011 @ 1:00 am

    Ikan bilis makes very nice and tasty soup. The soup is clear and tasty. Apart of this lovely clear soup of water melon with ikan bilis, one can try this Liang tau Hoo with it as well.

    Try having ikan billis soup with Liang tau Hoo in it.

    Add some Chye Sim to the Liang Tau Hoo soup to provide some vegetable with it.

    The green colour of the Chye Sim vegetable that added to the soup makes a nice colour on the background of the whitish colour ikan bilis soup.

    The variety of colour of Liang tau Hoo that added to the whitish ikan bilis soup makes the entire colour of the soup very alluring and impressive.


    • wiffy replied: — April 4th, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

      This sounds great… reminds me of ban mian too!


  3. Toto — March 31, 2011 @ 3:12 am

    Nowadays, ikan bilis in not clean. The dirt , salt, sand and other impurities are not properly sieved out before they are sold. They are left in the ikab bilis to add to the sack weight so that they fetch more money when they sold it to wholesaler.

    It is important to wash and rinse the ikan bilis several times , as there may be insects like flies have run and left their feces on it. Fly is the one that is attracted to fish smell. The salt on the ikan bilis cannot prevent flies and other insets and even birds and chicken to run over the rattan trays of ikan bilis that is placed on the open ground waitng to sun under the sun.

    This is similar to how salted fish is dried too. Even cats and dogs may stumper on the trays of ikan bilis that is laid on the ground to dry. And owrse, they can urinate on it.

    So it is important to wash several times until the rinsed water is clear. It is important to pick out the impurities.

    Finally, if possible, have a a hot water rinse over the tap water rinsed ikan bilis to remove any surface impurities like urine etc on them before finally soaking them in a bowl of tap water.

    This is to allow the ikan bilis the time to dissolve out the salt that is still inside of the ikan bilis. A longer time will remove quite a lot of salt from it.

    If one wants to have more salt removed, especially some parents want the ikan bilis to be cooked for baby or young toddler which their young kidneys cannot normally take in any loading on salt, try to use reverse osmosis methology.

    In reverse osmosis, one has to add some salt to the bowl of tap water that is soaking the ikan bilis.

    By reverse omosis principle, the salt in the water draws out the salt from the ikan bilis.

    This principle can also be applied in removing salt on salted vegetable. If one wants to reduce some salty from the salty vegetable, the reverse omosis is the way to do it.

    If no salt is in the bowl of water, the process of extracting out salt from the soaked ikan bilis will be slow and because of no salt in the water, very little salt in the ikan bilis is removed.

    It is not a effective way to know if the salt is indeed removed and left. How much salt is removed from the ikan bilis depends on the time taken and the salt amount.

    The longer the time that the ikan bilis is soaked in the bowl of salted tap water, the more salt is removed.

    The more salt that is added to the tap water in the bowl of saoked ikan bilis, the more salt is removed from the ikan bilis.


    • wiffy replied: — April 4th, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing, it’s really an informative and good read :)

      There are two camps regarding the issue of washing the ikan bilis. One camp believe that soaking and several rinses of water is necessary to remove the impurities; while the other camp believe in light washing so that the broth is still flavourful. I do something in between :)


  4. Reeni — March 31, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    I love the meatballs! They make it super comforting and delicious!


  5. Jane — April 1, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    I have an award for you. Please collect it from my blog:


  6. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) — April 2, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Love to have a bowl of this delicious homemade soup. Looks soul warming and delicious.


  7. Eva — April 2, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    I am so intrigued by this soup! Melon and anchovies and pork, I love trying new flavor combinations and this is definitely one I am going to have to put my hand to. Can’t wait to see how it comes out :)


  8. Cooking Gallery — April 3, 2011 @ 6:00 am

    This looks very very yummy, Wiffi! I like it that you made your own pork balls. Great job :D)!


  9. mycookinghut — April 4, 2011 @ 5:37 am

    This soup is promised me comfort! When I saw the soup pouches, they remind me of those that you gave me! I have been using them, they are handy! Thanks again!


    • wiffy replied: — April 4th, 2011 @ 11:12 am

      let me know if you run out, I’ll be happy to send again!! :)


  10. jinilia — June 26, 2014 @ 10:59 am

    Hi, do u know where i can get the disposable soup pouches in singapore? I used to get them from Daiso but last I checked they don’t have it anymore.


    • wiffy replied: — June 26th, 2014 @ 11:08 am

      Try a different outlet. I see them frequently at Daiso (SG). Maybe it was just temporarily OOS. Those neighbourhood provision shops sell soup pouches too but usually $3+!