Thursday 20 January 2011

Lotus Seeds Soup - 莲子羹

During the Eve of Chinese New Year, usually most of the household would prepare a sweet dessert to be served during the 1st Day of Chinese Luna New Year as an auspicious treat for the family or relatives. The common sweet dessert(Tong Shui) are Cheng Teng(清汤), Red Bean Cream(红豆沙), Lily Bulb and Lotus Seeds(百合莲子), Glutinous Rice Balls Soup(汤圆) and etc.

For a Teochew household like us, we usually have our favourite "Yam Paste(Orr Nee)", "Cheng Teng(清汤)" or "Lotus Soup(莲子羹)" which is shown in this post. Last year, I made Glutinous Red Date With Osmanthus Syrup for Chinese New Year dessert but this year I would like to share this Lotus Soup post with you.

This photo shows some of the ingredients and steps in preparing our all-time favourite dessert during Chinese New Year.

Ingredients: (serves 6 - 8)
300g Dried Lotus Seeds
150g Brown Sugar(in pieces form)
30g Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
1 Bundle of Pandan Leaves
2.5 Litres of Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Potato Starch(生粉) + 1 Tablespoon Water

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil, add dried lotus seeds and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or till soften.
2. Drain, rinse and remove the green sprout from each seeds and set aside.
3. Use a big soup pot, bring 2.5 litre of water to boil, when water comes to boil add in pandan leaves and cooked for about 5 minutes before adding it the pieces of brown sugar.
4. While waiting for the water to boil, season the cooked lotus seeds with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and set aside.
5. When the pieces of brown sugar melt, removed the pandan leaves, add in seasoned lotus seeds and simmer on medium low heat another 15 - 20 minutes till the lotus seeds achieves your desire texture when bite.
6. Next slowly add in the remaining 30g of brown sugar to sweeten the dessert to your liking.
7. Stir in potato starch mixture over low heat to thicken the soup accordingly.
8. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Lotus Seeds(莲子)are actually nuts from the lotus plant that are commonly found in Asia. The typical lotus seed is small, round and slightly white in appearance that is usually sold in dried and pre-packaged. The most common use of the seed is in the form of a paste for making moon cakes and bun or sometime they are found as one of the ingredients in Asian dessert or soup.

It is believed that when using lotus seeds to cook soups, congee or dessert, it actually act as a cooling tonic that "clears heat" according to the Chinese Physician. being sweet and neutral, they have been known to tonify the spleen, reinforce the kidneys and nourish the blood too. But within the seed lies a "green sprout" that is quite bitter and it is usually removed when lotus seeds are use in sweet dessert.

No matter which Chinese New Year dessert you preferred or made at home I am sure everyone would love to have something Auspicious for their family. So if you have some special dessert which you prepared for Chinese New Year do share with us, if you don't have a blog you can Email me your recipe and I would be most delighted to do a [Guest Post] on your behalf

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