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How to make crystal winter melon candied (冬瓜片)

Prepping the Melon:
Peel the melon, remove seeds. Cut melon into chopstick size pieces, about 3-4 inches long. For every liter of water mix in 1/2 tsp limestone paste. Soak melon slices into limestone solution for 3 hours. Remove and wash. For ever liter of water mix in 3/4 tsp alum. Bring alum solution to a boil, turn off the heat, and remove the pot of water off the heating element. Add in melon slices; remove the melon when they appear transparent. Wash thoroughly.

Weigh the melon to determine the amount of sugar. Sugar should be ¾ the weight of the melon. Mix together melon and sugar, add mali flavor. Next morning drain the melon from the excess sugar (by now the sugar will have turned into a syrup). Follow instructions for “dry” version to complete the recipe.


To make the Chinese version of this treat, simply cut melon into bigger (thicker) strips and omit mali flavor. Alum, and limestone paste is optional. For a faster method, simply cut melon, boil for a few mins, and soak in cold water until cooled. Weigh and determine sugar, mix together melon and sugar. After sugar has melted and  turned into a syrup, drain off excess sugar and make into final product. Alum makes the melon transparent and white. Limestone solution helps gives it the crispy and plump texture. However, too much limestone paste in the solution will make the melon yellowish in color. Alum is acidic, thus make sure the melon is thoroughly washed after soaking in alum solution.

Determining the Amount of Sugar:
After the ingredient has passed the preparation process. Weigh the ingredient to determine the amount of sugar. The amount of sugar is always equal to or 3/4 the weight of the main ingredient(s). Mix in the sugar and let the sugar ‘melt’. Then…..

…For “wet” version:
-always add an acid to keep the sugar from crystallizing
-stir fry over medium-high heat until most of the liquids have evaporated
-reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir fry until done

For “dry” version:
-always make sure the main ingredient is non-acidic
-stir fry over medium-high heat until most of the liquids are evaporated
-reduce heat to medium-low and toss (like tossing a salad) until ingredient is dry and coated with a thin layer of sugar. Further let dry under the sun.


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