1 (10 lb.) (approximately)
       winter melon (be sure
       you have a pot large
       enough for it)
 
  SOUP  INGREDIENTS  TO BE  PUT  INTO
  CAVITY  OF  MELON:
  5 c. chicken soup stock
  2 tsp. dry sherry
  1/2 tsp. sugar
  3/4 tsp. salt
  15 lotus seeds, soaked & skinned
  4 lg. dried mushrooms, soaked & cut
     into 1/4 inch squares
  1 c. barley, soaked overnight
 
  OTHER  INGREDIENTS  TO  BE  PUT  INTO
  CAVITY  OF  MELON:
  1/3 c. diced roasted pork or roasted
     duck meat
  1 boned, skinless chicken breast, cut
     into 1/4 inch cubes
       Mix 1/3 cup raw lean pork, cut into 1/4 inch cubes, with 1
  teaspoon cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix 6 ounces fresh
  shrimp, cleaned, deveined and cut into 1/2 inch cubes with 1/2
  teaspoon dry sherry, 1 pinch white pepper and 1/2 teaspoon
  cornstarch. 1/3 c. abalone, cut into 1/4 inch cubes 1/3 c. coriander
  for garnishing   Cut off enough of the stem end of melon for removal
  of contents or to fit melon to pot, and remove seeds and soft pulp.
  Put a piece of cheese cloth under melon to facilitate removal from
  pot after cooking, then put melon in pot.  Put soup ingredients into
  cavity of melon. Steam melon with its soup ingredients for 1 hour,
  making sure there is enough water in pot for steaming.  Add roast
  pork or duck meat and steam an additional 15 minutes.  Add cubed
  chicken and pork mixture to the hot broth and stir so that the
  pieces do not stick together. Steam an additional 15 minutes.  Add
  shrimp mixture, straw mushrooms, abalone and turn off heat.  Grasp
  corners of cheesecloth and lift out melon gently.  Place on a large
  round serving platter.  Remove cheesecloth and garnish with
  coriander. Serve hot, judiciously scooping out melon pulp to avoid
  puncturing the shell and not allow soup to leak out.
  This dish has always been a major undertaking as you can see.
  However, family and guests who are served this soup always
  appreciate the effort involved.  Basically the melon is used as a
  container for the soup and is sometimes carved with figures, Chinese
  characters or geometric patterns to make the melon look like a
  ceramic piece.  Books on Chinese garnishings and vegetable carving
  can give more information on this matter.  The cheesecloth method of
  handling the melon works, but can be replaced by using of a trivet
  or any flat metal piece which can be placed under the melon with
  strings attached so that the ends of the strings are readily reached
  from the top.  If the melon is immersed in water almost to the top,
  the cooking is controlled better.  If the water level is, say, only
  1/2 to 1/3 of the height of the melon, the portion out of the water
  is not as well done as the portion in the water, making handling and
  serving difficult.  Of course, if the entire melon is simply
  steamed, the cooked melon will be homogeneous.  However, it would
  take a longer time to cook.  The top of the melon that is cut off
  can be peeled, cut into chunks and put into the soup with the rest
  of the ingredients or it may be reserved for another dish.