Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sweet Almond Dessert Soup...

Out of all the Chinese-style sweet dessert soups, this one is hands-down my fave. A popular traditional dessert house sweet white soup, it literally translates to almond paste to describe its thick pasty texture. Typically served warm, it's made with a combo of Chinese sweet and bitter almonds.  Since these are not easy to find, skinless blanched almonds are a great substitute! Not only is this concentrated soup nutritious, with 1/2 cup of almonds per suggested serving, the dessert is said to do wonders for the skin. Some even eat it as a breakfast. I know I would :).  When I took notice to see my mom make this, I learned the trade secret to the thick texture, and it's surprisingly not cornstarch... but a small handful of raw rice.

Sweet Almond Dessert Soup
Makes 2 servings, 1 cup each (double the recipe to double the pleasure)

1 cup slivered almonds (or use whole blanched almonds), soaked in water for two hours
1 heaping Tbsp. raw Jasmine rice, soaked in water to cover for ½ hour, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. equivalent of yellow rock sugar or golden sugar
2 cups water, add 1 Tbsp. at a time to get the consistency you want
2 to 3 drops of almond extract (optional)

Toast almonds in a saucepan on medium heat until slightly fragrant about two minutes- do not let it turn golden. Blend in blender along with water and rice until completely pulverized and smooth. Strain through a strainer into the saucepan and cook over low heat until mixture is thickened, stirring frequently otherwise it will burn on bottom. Add sugar and cook, stirring until dissolved. Add the drops of almond extract. Adjust flavourings to your taste preference. 

NOTE: Make sure almonds and rice are finely ground otherwise, almonds will leave a gritty taste and rice will cook up during heating into unwanted particulates.

The soup thickens as it cooks.

Growing up, my mother prepared small pots of sweetened red bean soup (another very popular Chinese sweet dessert) to eat during the day or after dinner and it has been a favourite in our family to this day. Packed with protein, making it is a cinch to do with just five ingredients.

Simple Chinese Red Bean Soup Dessert

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