Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

This classic traditional Chinese dessert has been enjoyed throughout generations (even when I was little and when my parents were little). Common in most dessert houses and even served as dessert at the end of Cantonese meals, this almond packed dessert is smooth, slightly sweet, creamy and absolutely healthy! Almonds are known to reduce risk of heart problems and lowers LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind!). Actually, nuts.com has a very comprehensive review of the benefits of almonds. I need to think of more ways to incorporate almonds into my diet! For the Chinese, they say that this soup helps smooth the skin and keep it silky and white.

Almonds are a very common ingredient found in both Chinese soups, desserts, foods – especially the South and North kinds that are commonly used in soups. For this one, I went with western almonds bought in a supermarket already peeled. This sweet soup was far easier to make than I thought and can be consumed both warm or cold.

Soup Name

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

杏仁茶 (xìng rén chá)

For the whole recipe and to skip my commentary, scroll down.

To start, all you need is: raw almonds, rock sugar, raw rice, water and egg whites. What? That’s it? Haha… yes.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

  • 200 g of raw almonds
  • 800 mL of water
  • 30 g of white rice
  • 40 g of rock sugar
  • 1 egg white

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak your almonds in cool water for 4-5 hours to soften
  2. Drain water and in a blender, add about 600 mL of cool water, the almonds and 30 g of white rice
  3. Blend until smooth or very fine (liquefied as much as possible) – you can add more water to bring the level up to 800 mL at this point (or just start with 800 mL of water)
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh bag into a pot
  5. Bring to a medium boil and boil for 10 minutes, while continuously stirring – you can throw in the rock sugar as it comes to boil and ensure it completely dissolves
  6. Add in an egg white and continuously stir for another 5 minutes
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Start soaking your almonds in cool water for about 3-4 hours. This will soften them, especially if you still have the skin on them, this will help you peel them so much easier. About 200 g of almonds will make 2 bowls, so what you see here is enough for 4 bowls.

Drain the water and refill with cool water into the bowl. This water and almonds will be the base of the dessert. I then throw this into a blender with 30g of white rice (I personally will use whatever is in the pantry, which was Thai long grained white rice at the time). Do note that I actually add more water later to make 800 mL worth total. This will significantly reduce when you strain the almonds through a fine mesh.

It takes a bit of grinding, but do work to grind as much and as fine as you can the almond mixture.  Here, you can see that it’s not yet quite as fine as it could be, so it took a bit of maneuvering up and down and sideways to get as much of the bulk to the bottom to grind further. Helps work your forearms and biceps. Keep going!

When you hear the blend spin pretty consistently and you can move the blender around, the mixture should be fine enough to strain and cook. It’s so beautiful that it almost looks like snow!

Push it ALL through a very fine mesh bag. This will separate the almond milk dessert from the grains. Some people like a little bit of the grainy parts, so add that if you’d like to your dessert. It’s completely up to you!

 

You should now have a very smooth, creamy almond milk-like liquid. Turn on the heat to a medium heat and bring the almond milk to a slow boil for about 10 minutes, continuously stirring the mixture.

Once it boils, add in the rock sugar. I used about 40 g, which isn’t too sweet – just perfect. Adjust accordingly depending on your taste. Don’t forget to continuously stir as well and boil for another 5 minutes or until the rock sugar dissolves completely. As tradition calls, slowly stream in 1 egg white while stirring to ensure consistency and then turn off heat and serve!

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Snow Pear and Dragon’s Eye Sweet Dessert Soup

Snow Pear and Dragon’s Eye Sweet Dessert Soup

Snow Pear and Dragon’s Eye Sweet Dessert Soup

Soup Name:

Snow Pear and Dragon’s Eye Sweet Dessert Soup

One day, in the thick of a winter evening, when all the children lay sleeping, I suddenly had this urge for something sweet, crunchy and hot.  No panic.  Taking a peek in the fridge, I found one giant snow pear staring at me. Perfect. This is how simple this dessert soup is and a majority of the other ingredients are primarily pantry items with a billion years shelf-life.  I personally love food with layers of texture and flavour and after twenty minutes, I was in bliss.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 giant fresh snow pear (preferably the type with dark brown / orange skin), chunked
  • 1 tablespoon of dried longans (or dried dragon eyes)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried wolfberries
  • 1 1-inch diameter chunk of golden rock sugar
  • 1.5 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil you soup water
  2. Cut up the snow pear into edible bite-sizes
  3. When the water boils, throw all the ingredients together
  4. Boil on high heat for 15 minutes
  5. Serve and enjoy hot!

The ingredients for the soup are:  1 large snow pear (preferably the sweeter kind with a thick, orange-brown skin), some dried longans (or dragon eyes), dried wolfberries, and rock sugar (adjusted to exactly the way you want).  I tend to use less sweet versions, so adjust accordingly!

The great thing about these massive Korean snow pears is that they produce a lot of fruit flesh.  Look at the giant mound of fruit!

The ingredients for the soup are:  1 large snow pear (preferably the sweeter kind with a thick, orange-brown skin), some dried longans (or dragon eyes), dried wolfberries, and rock sugar (adjusted to exactly the way you want).  I tend to use less sweet versions, so adjust accordingly!

The great thing about these massive Korean snow pears is that they produce a lot of fruit flesh.  Look at the giant mound of fruit!

 Boil on high heat for 15 minutes (or to the desired crunchiness of your snow pears) and adjust the sweetness as well. I prefer it less sweet, but depends on your sweet tooth.

Serve piping hot and enjoy!

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Chinese Red Bean Soup Dessert

Chinese Red Bean Soup Dessert

Soup Name: Chinese Red Bean Soup Dessert, Chinese Red Bean Soup, Red Bean Dessert, Red Bean Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  紅豆沙 (hǒng dòu shā)

Introduction:
This is a traditional Chinese dessert and a popular dish among the Chinese. It can be eaten any day of the year, but does have special meaning during Chinese New Year’s (because of the red, added with glutinous rice balls filled with sweet black sesame!). This dessert can be served hot or cold and will vary in its content depending on the chef. The basic recipes really just calls for red beans, water and sugar, but many people will also add lotus seeds, black rice, glutinous rice balls and varying other ingredients to make it more rich and wholesome. Some people also will freeze the leftover dessert and make popsicles with them (Hong Kong actually carries this as a commercial dessert in super markets!).

 

Amount serves: 4 servings in 250mL bowls

 

What Ingredients are required?

200 g of dried red/azuki beans
30 g of dried lily blubs
50 g of dried lotus seeds
80 g of rock sugar
1 slice of dried tangerine peel
2-3 glutinous rice balls (per person) (optional)

2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the red beans in warm water for about 2 hours prior to cooking (this will soften them more)
  2. Soak the tangerine peel for 20 minutes (or until soft). Using a butter knife, scrape off the dark outside skin until all the brown portions have washed off under running water (this will help reduce the bitterness of the soup)
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. When water boils, add everything except the glutinous rice balls
  5. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes
  6. Reduce to a medium boil while covered for another hour (or until all the ingredients have softened to your liking)
  7. Add glutinous rice balls and boil for another 5 minutes
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Low in fat and a very tasty, healthy and protein rich sweet soup
  • It serves as a good dessert base (you can add other ingredients to customize it)
  • There is a good portion of fiber in the soup
  • Excellent source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc

Any precautions?

  • For those who have gout, consume with caution due to the amount of red beans used
  • Take caution when adding sugar to sweet soups (add less and you can always add more later if needed)
Chinese Red Bean Soup Dessert Ingredients
Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Soup Name:

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Traditional Chinese Name:

椰汁西米露 (Yē zhī xī mǐ lù)

 

I had a craving for a cold, sweet, coconut milk flavoured dessert and the only thing that came to mind was this commonly available dessert in Hong Kong that matched it.

I always thought it was hard to make, but after some research and discussions with the people at those dessert shops, it’s super easy!!

The thing I love about it is that you can make the base, primarily made of coconut milk, and then add whatever fruit, toppings, additives you want to make it your own. This worked great for the kids!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 40 mins

Cook time: 30 mins + 2 hours chill

Total time: 3 hours 10 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • rock sugar (as sweet as you like – taste if first!)
  • 1 cup of small tapioca pearls
  • fresh fruit, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • condensed milk (optional to sweeten if not sweet enough)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak the tapioca in cool water for 30 minutes first. In a pot of cold water, boil tapioca pearls on medium heat for around 10-15 minutes. Check the consistency and transparency of the pearls. When they are done, they’ll be completely transparent, but be careful they don’t start to melt.
  2. Remove from heat and run through cold water to separate. You can either leave in a bowl with cold water or just leave them in a bowl when sufficiently cooled. Set at room temperature is OK.
  3. In a separate pot, boil the water with the rock sugar.
  4. When the rock sugar has completely melted, reduce heat to a low boil and add in coconut milk and whole milk. Boil and stir together for about 5 minutes. Taste to see if it’s sweet enough. If not, you can add more rock sugar and boil on low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Remove from heat and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to eat, in a serving bowl, ladle in as much coconut milk as you like, add the tapioca pearls and load on the fruits!
  7. Enjoy!

To start, the base is simply coconut milk, whole (or skim) milk, water, and rock sugar. Some recipes call for evaporated milk, but after sampling it with just the milks, water and sugar, it was smooth and rich enough for me.
You can find these types of tapioca (or sago) pearls from the supermarket or wet mart.

They come in a variety of sizes, flavours and colours. Typically, for this dessert, use the smaller, white pearls that turn transparent when boiled. They are flavourless and turn into a chewy ball of … chewy.

First, soak the tapioca in warm water for about 30 minutes. This will soften and expand them slightly. You then need to boil the tapioca until it’s completely cooked. You’ll know it’s completely cooked when the entire ball turns transparent. Semi-cooked will show a white spot in the middle.

The problem is that smaller balls will cook faster and then start dissolving on you, so just take care to judge how well done on average your tapioca pearls are. The trick is that you rinse the tapioca in COLD, running water after you’ve cooked it. Some people continue to soak them in a bit of cold water, or just leave them to sit cool.  If you keep the warm, they will continue to cook and then merge into one giant ugly ball of tapioca!

Next, start to boil your water and let the rock sugar dissolve. Taste to see how sweet you prefer it because everyone is different. I went with a less sweet version and if people wanted it sweeter, I gave them condensed milk to mix in – just as yummy!

 

Reduce heat to a low simmer and mix in the coconut milk and whole (or skim) milk. You don’t want to boil the coconut milk too much or it starts to break down and separate, so give it enough heat to mix together.  Boil for around 10 minutes and remove from heat.  This dessert is best eaten cold, so I moved it to the fridge to cool for a few hours.

The last thing is to put it together – your way.  I personally love fresh fruit with mine, so when the coconut milk mixture was sufficient cooled, I added the tapioca pearls and fresh strawberries.  It’s great with fresh, chilled melons, pears, mango, durian or whatever your great imaginative mind comes up with!

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Papaya and Snow Fungus Chinese Dessert

Papaya and Snow Fungus Chinese Dessert

Papaya and Snow Fungus Chinese Dessert

Soup Name:

Papaya and Snow Fungus Chinese Dessert (or sweet soup)

Traditional Chinese Name:

木瓜雪耳糖水 (mù gua xuě ěr táng shuǐ)

A traditional Chinese sweet soup (or sweet dessert) that is restores and cleans your body from impurities.  It is said to be great for balancing skin tone and is moisturizing for the body.  Extremely easy to make and is already naturally sweet from the Papayas.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 2 cups

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak snow fungus and dried apricot kernals overnight
  2. Start boiling your soup water
  3. Using scissors (or knife) cut enlarged snow fungus into edible sizes
  4. Wash and remove seeds from papaya.  Cut into edible cubes
  5. When water boils, add all ingredients together
  6. Boil on medium-high heat for at least 30 minutes (or until snow fungus is at desired softness)
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Watch how to prepare for snow fungus here on this video!  

 

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