Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gingko Beancurd Barley dessert ( 白果腐竹薏米糖水)

There are so many dessert soups out there. From highly popular red bean soup ”红豆汤“ to  Peanut Paste "花生糊“, to Glutinous rice ball in ginger tea “姜茶汤圆“, are just some of the family favourites we can find in most of our households. 

I remember having this really silky smooth sweet beancurd  dessert awhile back which really left me an impression, good one of course. I finally got to know that this Tong Shui "糖水" is mainly popular in Hong Kong which they even add hard boiled chicken eggs in it...what? Some may shudder at the thought of savoury ingredient found in desserts...beancurd and hardboiled eggs? I guess when people grow up eating something, there is really nothing awkward about it. 

However today, I won't be adding hardboiled eggs into this dessert soup. I prefer mine just with the usual ingredients and how I remembered it when I first tasted it.
This dessert is rather versatile, the amount of gingko and beancurd sheets you add in are really up to one's preference. If you prefer more, you can just add more. So the amount I written here is just a rough guideline, feel free to adjust as per how you like your dessert soup to be.

Recipe for Gingko Beancurd Barley dessert (Serves 5-6 pax)

1.5 litres water
100 g dried beancurd sheet (dessert type-see picture below) ( 腐竹 )
150-200 g shelled, boiled, peeled gingko nuts (I bought the package ones) ( 白果 )
100-120 g dried barley ( 薏米 )
50-60 g dried Lily bulb ( 百合 )
1 knotted pandan leaf ( 香兰叶 )
120-140 g crystal sugar  (冰糖 )

  • In a pot, pour in the water, dried barley, dried lily bulbs and knotted pandan leaf in. Bring the water to a boil, then lower fire and simmer, covered for a good 20-25 minutes.

  • While the barley and dried lily bulbs are cooking, prepare the gingko nuts. Using the tip of a small paring knife, slit a small opening at the base and draw out the "bitter heart" of the nut. This is a VERY important step, so do not skip doing this, even though it can get a little tedious doing it. But if you don't remove the bitter hearts, it'll leave such a terrible bad aftertaste when having the dessert! 

  • After all the gingko nuts have the hearts removed, place them in a small pot of water with 2 tbsp of crystal sugar added in. Bring it to a boil. This simple sugar syrup will slightly sweeten the gingko nuts and remove any traces of the bitter flavour that the hearts might have left behind. Again try not to skip this step.

  • After the gingko nuts have been simmered in the sugar water for a good 15 minutes, off the fire and leave it there until its needed.
  • When the barley is soften, drain and add in the ready gingko nuts to the barley pot. Continue to simmer the whole mixture. 
  • In the meantime, weigh out 80-100 g of the dessert beancurd skin, breaking it up slightly.

  • Soak the beancurd skin with some water to soften it a little. It should turn slightly more pale yellow then before, like so:

  • Next add the beancurd skin to the pot of barley and gingko nuts. Bring it to a boil then lower the fire to a simmer.

  • Bring to a boil, add in crystal sugar and then lower fire to simmer. 

  • Cook for a good 30 minutes at low fire until the beancurd breaks up into tiny pieces. 

  • At this point you can choose to cook it further to break down the beancurd more which some likes it or leave it like so. You can also adjust the level of sweetness or the thickness consistency by adding more water. 

I actually enjoy this dessert more when it is chilled whereas my husband likes it hot. Whichever ways you like it, I feel this is such a nice dessert to have which even the older folks can enjoy. With the addition of dried lily bulb makes this dessert a lot more wholesome which this wondrous dried flower is used for treating Chronic cough, insomnia, inability to concentrate, restlessness and irritability. How awesome is that?! But of course we all know Chinese medicine requires long term usage in order to see a more effective result.

Frankly speaking, I can't really find this dessert in any of the hawker stalls and rarely seen in restaurants as well. So it is definitely a plus to record this recipe down here so I can revisit it from time to time again. So do try it out yourself too!

I am thinking of cooking this again on the last day of Lunar New Year. This time I might just add in some homemade filled glutinous rice balls in...just to give it another dimension of yumminess! So excited!

Have a great week ahead folk!
Happy Cooking!


Angie's Recipes said...

A light and delicious dessert! Wish I could have a bowl now.

Anonymous said...


I tried out another recipe recently.

Instead of using all water, the recipe uses 75% lightly sweetened soya milk and 25% water. No need to add sugar.

Tastes good!

Anonymous said...

Hi, can the gingko syrup be used?

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Angie! I wish I can serve you a big pot! haha! Have a great day ahead. ;)

Hi Anonymous, thanks for the tip! Shall try that next time. :)

Hi Mixue, the purpose of boiling the gingko nut separately was to remove any trace of the bitter taste it might still have. So I suggest not incase it might go into the main pot of ingredients and it might be such a waste. :P

Anonymous said...

Lucky we can get all the ingredients in the Asian store here. Very tempted to try to make it. Thank you for the detailed information with pictures. Cheers

Dee said...

Hello! Love this dessert, but how long can this keep for, could you advise?

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Dee, I suggest max 2-3 days in the coldest part of the fridge.