Enjoy a simple Chinese soup of hairy gourd with dried scallop, stewed in chicken or pork broth with sweet Chinese red dates.

If you love classic Chinese soups stewed with old cucumber or winter melon, you should also add hairy gourd to your list. This is a simple and easy recipe for hairy gourd with pork ribs and dried scallop soup.

Hairy gourd is popular for its delicate, mild and sweet flavour. Often, you’ll find this vegetable in Chinese stir-fries. When stir-fried with garlic, dried shrimp and bean thread noodles or vermicelli, hairy gourd is savoury, juicy and delicious. 

About hairy gourd

As a variety of the gourd family, hairy gourd is also often referred to as hairy melon, fuzzy melon or mo gwa in Chinese.  Its appearance has characteristic fine hairs on its skin and a lovely colour that resembles a muted shade of jade green.

It is similarly shaped like the old cucumber. But unlike old cucumber and winter melon, its seeds need not be scooped out or removed prior to cooking.

Hairy Gourd with Dried Scallop Soup

Health benefits of hairy gourd

In traditional Chinese medicine, hairy gourd has many cooling properties.

  • Regularly consuming hairy gourd aids the body to expel heat.
  • This vegetable helps detoxify the body and promote diuresis, as well as reduce inflammation.
  • Hairy gourd is also nutritionally useful as a rich calcium source.

About this hairy gourd soup

Here, hairy gourd is slow stewed with dried scallops, which are believed to have anti-cancer properties.

I usually save the more expensive, good quality, large scallops for a soup like this. My favourites are those sourced from Japan. Scallops have a sweet umami flavour and aroma.

The smaller and more inexpensive variety of scallops can be used for homemade stocks and broths.

But regardless of size, dried scallops do make the soup in this case, so be sure to add them in!

However, something to take note of when cooking hairy gourd in soups. I always remove the seeds for a more pleasing presentation, especially if serving this soup to guests!

Because during the stewing, the seeds will loosen as the flesh softens and start to float everywhere. They are edible, of course, but just looks messy and unappetising. Unless, you don’t mind it one bit!

Here are more Chinese soup recipes you might enjoy:

Tried this recipe? I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.


Hairy Gourd with Dried Scallop Soup

5 from 3 reviews
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Enjoy a simple Chinese soup of hairy gourd with dried scallop, stewed in chicken or pork broth with sweet Chinese red dates.


  • 300 g pork ribs or chicken
  • 1 hairy gourd peeled, washed, seeds removed, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 dried scallops large variety
  • 6 dried red dates pitted and washed
  • Chicken stock or water
  • Seal salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small saucepan, bring water to boil and parboil the pork ribs for a few minutes to remove scum and grit.  Discard the water, and wash well.
  • Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Pour in chicken stock or water until just enough to immerse all the ingredients. Cook on Auto or High setting for at least 4 hours.  If cooking in a deep pot, bring all the ingredients in stock or water to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for at least 3 hours, or longer, or until meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Season to taste. Serve hot or warm.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 3servings
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Celia Lim
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a review in the section below, and tag @foodelicacy on Instagram and hashtag it #foodelicacy so I can see!