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.
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.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 bowls
- 200 g of raw almonds
- 800 mL of water
- 30 g of white rice
- 40 g of rock sugar
- 1 egg white
- Soak your almonds in cool water for 4-5 hours to soften
- Drain water and in a blender, add about 600 mL of cool water, the almonds and 30 g of white rice
- 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)
- Strain the liquid through a fine mesh bag into a pot
- 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
- Add in an egg white and continuously stir for another 5 minutes
- 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!
Traditionally chinese north and south almonds are used in this dessert,not western almonds.
Do you add any of the almond back in to the soup or do you just drink the warm, sweet milk? Just curious. I almost think I’d like to add a bit back in and eat it like a soup with a spoon. If not, what do you usually do with the almond mix? I know some people try and use the almond bits in other recipes…Thanks.
Dear Mo, I don’t add it back in – I just discard the almonds and use the “juice”. But some people add a bit back in – your preference! Lisa
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Is the rice thrown in the blender raw or cooked rice?
Dear PB, the rice is thrown into the blender raw. We’ll eventually cook its juice when we boil it with the almond juice! Did you try it? Lisa
Hi Just a quick quesiton. What is the point of adding egg white to the dessert? Is it purely just to ensure consistency or is there more to it?
Hi Kel, I suspect it’s more for a thicker consistency. I’ve seen recipes that don’t add egg whites as well. Sometimes the thickness or viscosity is also determined by the type of rice being used. I’ve not tried it without the egg whites, but will consider it one day and see what it tastes like! Do let me know if you try it without! Lisa
I have a lot of commercial (western) almond milk left over. I’m not a fan and my boyfriend who bought it long discovered he does not like it. Can I use it in replacement of water and reduce almonds to make this recipe?
Can you tell us more about this? I’d care to find out some additional information.