Fuzzy melon (mo gwa in Cantonese) is also known as hairy melon or gourd. While it's popular in the summer because it's considered cooling, it's usually available year-round. It's delicious in this light, homey, soupy dish that is quick to prepare and cook.
If you're planning on making this dish after work, you'll have to remember to soak the mushrooms before you leave the house in the morning. The dried shrimp and glass noodles need only about 10 minutes of soaking to become hydrated, but the mushrooms take much longer, depending on their thickness and age.
Glass noodles are also known as fen si, cellophane noodles and mung bean noodles.
Rinse the dried mushrooms under cool water, then put them in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak until they’re fully hydrated. Put the dried shrimp and glass noodles in separate bowls, cover with warm water and soak for about 10 minutes.
Squeeze the excess water from the mushrooms and remove and discard the stems. Cut the caps into small dice and mix them with the minced pork, soy sauce, rice wine, 5ml (1tsp) of sesame oil, the salt, sugar, white pepper and cornstarch. Mince two of the spring onions, then add them into the pork mixture and combine thoroughly. Shape the mixture into small meatballs and refrigerate until needed.
Peel the fuzzy melons and cut them into discs about 3mm ( ⅛in) thick. Cut the discs into matchstick pieces. Drain the glass noodles. Slice the remaining spring onions into 5mm (¼in) pieces.
Pour the chicken stock into a pan or Chinese clay pot, season with about half a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil over a medium flame. Add the fuzzy melon and dried shrimp (and the shrimp soaking liquid) and cook until the vegetable starts to soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in the meatballs and the glass noodles. Cover the pan with the lid and cook over a low flame to poach the meatballs. When the meatballs are ready, taste the cooking liquid and season with a little soy sauce, if needed. Scatter the spring onion on top and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve immediately, on its own, or with steamed rice for a more substantial meal.