On rainy, stormy days I look for soup. Not necessarily soups that have taken hours and hours to develop really deep flavors but just a satisfying soup that can serve as a meal in itself. Here is a really easy recipe for a soup that I always find satisfyingâ€¦ kundol soup a la Marketman. Growing up I always noticed the special attention given to winter melon soups served in good Chinese restaurants around the world. I only recently realized that winter melon was in fact, the very readily available and highly affordable kundol. The light to dark green skin of a winter melon has a powdery film and the meat when sliced glistens. Kundol appears to be almost entirely made up of water but if you pay attention, it does have a pleasant and mild flavor. My soup has just a few ingredients and is wickedly easy to do.
First boil up a ham bone, a sliced onion and some peppercorns in some water for about 30-40 minutes until the broth is cloudy and nice flavored. Strain the broth to remove solids and return to pot. I buy ham bones from ham retailers who sell them for a steal â€“ P50-60 pesos for the bones of a medium ham â€“ throw them in the freezer so I always have a supply of them. If you donâ€™t have ham bones, this works well with good chicken stock as well. Into the stock I add cubed kundol (peeled) and let that cook for a few minutes, add sliced ham bits (cheaper than sliced ham) and throw in whole large shrimp or small prawns and some salt and perhaps white pepper. As soon as the prawns are cooked (just 2-3 minutes), the soup is ready to serve. The kundol should have just turned translucent or somewhat opaque. If you want color, add some wansoy leaves. This is great on its own or with a bowl of steamed rice. If you put a lot of shrimp and ham it is a meal by itself.