Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Water Chestnut and Lemon Soup Dessert

The first time I had this dessert it was in the heat of summer years ago at a traditional Chinese dessert house just off of King's Road, North Point. It was one of those mom and pop shops that you fear would one day succumb to skyrocketing rent and, like much of Hong Kong's precious heritage, become history. Perhaps it was the combination of place, company (my much esteemed elderly uncle whose inner child lets loose at the sight of desserts), and the surprising burst of lemon that made this experience particularly memorable.

Water chestnut soup is about as simple as it can get, but chilled and lifted with fresh lemon juice and lemon slices, it is an electrifying treat that snaps you out of summer's indolence.

Widely believed to help remove excess heat buildup in one's body, water chestnut desserts are especially popular and refreshing in summer. Select fresh and firm water chestnuts, but if skinning the suckers proves too tedious, look for vaccuum sealed peeled water chestnuts in your local grocery or even canned ones for a shortcut.

Enjoy the lemony burst and juicy crunch of water chestnuts!

What you'll need...
250g of skinned water chestnuts
3 cups water
80g rock sugar
1 tbsp water chestnut flour
Lemon juice from half a lemon
Lemon slices
Lemon zest

1. In a blender, blend half of the water chestnuts into a puree. Set aside. Take the remaining half and either pulse in blender or chop into small pieces.

2. In a small bowl, mix water chestnut flour with some water until smooth.

3. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add diced and pureed water chestnut and return to a slow boil. Stir in water chestnut flour solution and rock sugar and turn heat off shortly after sugar dissolves completely.

4. Let soup cool to room temperature, stir in lemon juice, zest, and lemon slices and chill in the refrigerator. Serve chilled and garnish with more lemon slices as desired. Enjoy!

Tips for skinning a water chestnut: Deshelling a water chestnut is easier than it seems. First, cut the top and bottom off. Then, with thumb gently pressed against the blade of a small knife, carefully peel the skin off by running the blade along the side of the water chestnut.

To make a clearer soup, adjust the proportion of pureed versus diced water chestnuts. Reduce the proportion of puree for a clearer soup.

馬蹄  250 克(去皮計)
清水  3 碗(約 715 毫升)
冰糖  80 克
馬蹄粉  1 湯匙
鮮檸檬汁  約半個檸檬

1. 將一半的馬蹄用攪拌機磨成茸,另一半切成小粒。
2. 馬蹄粉用少量清水調勻。
3. 燒滾水,加入馬蹄茸、馬蹄粒煮滾。
4. 加入冰糖和馬蹄粉水拌勻,待冰糖完全溶化後熄火。
5. 馬蹄露晾涼至室溫,拌入檸檬汁、檸檬皮碎及數片檸檬,再放進雪櫃冷藏。
6. 冷凍後即可隨時品嚐,另加檸檬片更添風味!


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