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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Soup Name: Tom Yum Koong Soup

Restaurant: Somboon Seafood Restaurant (Bantadthong Branch)

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Price: I’m sorry, I can’t remember because it was just so darn tasty (I’d estimate around 150 baht)

Serves:  About 8 small Chinese bowls worth

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

 

I’ve started a new section on this site to review soups.  As a soup lover and drinker, it naturally extends to trying other people’s soups and then finding what I love about them and making it my own.  You actually learn a lot about making soups from tasting other people’s soups.  One thing I love about tasting other people’s soups is dissecting it.  Marveling at the ingredients they use and trying to taste the subtlety of hidden ingredients.  Like wines, you have to smell the soup first and then swirl it around in your mouth to taste the sweet, salt and other goodies inside.

For starters, finding this restaurant is an ADVENTURE.  If you haven’t been there before, be wary of the fake Samboon restaurants in Bangkok – they are everywhere!  And cab drivers are paid a grand commission for bringing customers to these fake restaurants.

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It’s delicious.  It isn’t overly spicy (like some Thai food) and it’s quiet sour (more than average), but I personally love the sourness of the soup.  Most tom yum koong soups are packed with lemon grass and this one is not short of these finely sliced lemon grass pieces that are deliciously fragrant.  It is also packed with fresh shrimp and loads of straw mushrooms (yum!).  One thing they could reduce is the amount of chili oil – I’d say about a quarter of the surface area of the soup is covered and while I know it adds to the amazing scent of the soup, not sure it was completely necessary.  OK, so maybe some people can say I’m wrong, but my soup theory is really light on oil and salt and natural as possible.  I personally have yet to make this soup, so give me a few weeks to gather the ingredients (I hear North Point wet mart carries fresh ingredients from South East Asia) and I’ll put my version and interpretation of this soup on the site when I’ve made it!

The soup comes in a large metal pot with a fire element underneath it.  Smashingly delicious!

The restaurant!  We finally found out on round #2 of cab drivers!