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Stuffed Fuzzy Melon with Turkey, Water Chestnuts, and Cilantro

(recipe, Cathy Erway)

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This is a lighter interpretation of a classic steamed fuzzy-melon dish. The delicate flavor of the fuzzy melon and its melt-in-your-mouth texture once steamed pairs well with ground turkey (or ground pork). Chopped water chestnuts give these bite-sized snacks a subtle crunch.


  1. 2 large fuzzy melons
  2. ½ lb. ground turkey (or ground pork)
  3. 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  4. 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  5. ½ tsp. sesame oil
  6. 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  7. 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  8. 2 scallions, both white and green parts finely chopped
  9. 3 Tbsp. cilantro, coarsely chopped
  10. ¼ cup canned water chestnuts, drained and very finely chopped
  11. 1 egg white
  12. ½ tsp. salt
  13. ¼ tsp. black pepper
  14. ¼ tsp. white pepper
  15. 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Peel fuzzy melons and trim ends. Cut in half lengthwise. Chop into roughly 2-inch pieces (about 4 pieces per half, depending on how long the melons are), totaling around 16 pieces for both melons. With a spoon, carefully dig out a bowl in each fuzzy-melon piece that can fit 1 to 2 tablespoons of stuffing mixture. Be careful not to break the sides.
  2. Finely chop the scooped-out flesh and seeds of the fuzzy melons into pieces no larger than a pea. In a large, flat saucepan with a lid, heat the oil. On medium-high heat, stir-fry the chopped fuzzy melon along with the garlic and ginger until the melon’s juices have drawn out, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, water chestnuts, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, egg white, salt, and peppers. Fold in the cooled, chopped fuzzy-melon mixture. Fill each of the fuzzy-melon pieces with spoonfuls of the stuffing, heaping it over the top a little.
  4. Heat the same saucepan and arrange the stuffed fuzzy-melon pieces, melon side down, on the pan (you will probably need to do two batches if using one pan). Pour water directly into the bottom of the pan so that the fuzzy melon pieces are submerged about a quarter-inch of their height. Cover, set heat to medium-high, and let steam for 15 minutes. Remove cover, and cook off any juices in the pan. Let cool a moment, then transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.


You can substitute eggplant, zucchini, or other similar squashes for the fuzzy melon. Want more about cooking with Asian vegetables? See Cathy Erway's article "Beyond broccoli."