Saturday 6 October 2012

Healthy Soup For The Soul (a.k.a. A Hangover Cure) - Cheng Tng (Sweet Clear Dessert Soup)

You know when you are suffering from a hangover, when everything just feels like a chore, even the simple task of getting up felt ten folds harder. You deployed all the energy within you to slide yourself across the bed only to stumble onto the bedroom floor feeling as helpless as a fish out of water. Yes, should have drunk gallons of water the night before but who on earth is that sensible when intoxicated with a lethal mixture of champagne, red and white wine, jägerbomb and a few pints thrown in - an end result of attending a Creative display industry's award.

So after a clearly well deserved full English fried up for brunch, I felt the need to cook myself something that is both healthy and effortless. If you come here thinking that you are getting a typical soup for starter then I'm afraid you have come to the wrong place. This delicious soup in question is not what you would typically have as a first course but more as a pudding. This is a Chinese Cheng Tng (literally translates as clear soup). It is sweet and nutritious and is believe to have a great medicinal purposes so more of a a healthy pudding if you like. All the goodness comes from the herbal ingredients such as the snow fungus, which provides the soup with a contrasting crunch and the ginkgo nuts, lotus seed and longans etc.

On a cold autumnal day, this was perfect as a warming soup but it is equally good when served over some crushed ice, which is what we normally do in  Singapore where it is constantly hot and humid. A very refreshing bowl of yumminess and as I discovered, a fantastic hangover cure!

Ingredients (Serves 4 )

50g pre-prepared ginkgo nuts (canned or vacuum-packed)
50g prepared lotus seed (canned or vacuum-packed)
1 small head snow fungus (white fungus or white wood ear mushroom)
2 dried persimmons
30g dried longans
1 litres water
3 pandan leaves, tied into knots
120g rock sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)


Rinse the gingko nuts and lotus seed with cold water and drain. 

Soak the snow fungus in cold water for 20 minutes, until it swell up. Cut with a pair of kitchen scissors into small pieces.

Washed the dried persimmon, wipe dry with some kitchen paper and snip into think sliver with a pair of kitchen scissors.

In a large pot, bring the water to the boil and add the knotted pandan leaves, rock sugar, dried persimmon and longans. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Add the ginkgo nuts, lotus seed and snow fungus and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the pandan leaves and discard. Ladle into individual serving bowl and serve warm or alternatively, allow to cool completely and serve over some crushed ice.

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