August 9, 2008

Grandma's Sweet Barley and Ginkgo Nut Soup

This is one of the quintessential Chinese sweet dessert soups or tong sui (meaning sugar water literally). I remember shelling and skinning these ginkgo nuts for my grandma before she would make me this dessert. Though I cherish the memories, I am glad that they now sell packaged shelled and skinned ginkgo nuts. Even though this is a Chinese sweet dessert soup, the use of pandan (screwpine) leaves makes it truly Malaysian. Not only is this dessert soup tasty it is actually good for your health as well. I remember my grandma telling me that the ginkgo nut, barley and bean curd sheet lower bad cholesterol, improve memories and rejuvenate skin. All the ingredients below are easily available in any Asian grocery stories.

6 quart water
1 1/2 cups ginkgo nut (shelled and skinned)
1 cup barley
14 oz. rock sugar or to taste
3 pandan leaves (knotted)
2 cups bean curd sheet (break into small pieces)

Soak bean curd sheet in water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Wash barley and ginkgo nut until water runs clear. Set aside.

In a large pot, add water, ginkgo nut, barley, pandan leaves and bean curd sheet. When mixture boils, turn the flame down to low and cook for 2 hours. Add in rock sugar. Cook for another 30 minutes. Discard the pandan leaves. Serve hot or cold, depending on your preference. This dessert soup keeps for about a week in the fridge.

1 comment:

Vance said...

To American eyes this dish might look weird, but I assure you it is DELICIOUS :) It's basically a sweet barley soup with nice soft ginkgo nuts in it. Very yummy!