Monday, April 29, 2019

Peach Gum Dessert Soup with Red Dates, Longan, and Lotus Seeds | 紅棗桂圓雪蓮子桃膠糖水


Of all the health food fads that saturate our pantries and social media these days, peach gum - a relatively recent Chinese beautifying food sensation - is surely one to stay. Peach gum (桃膠) has been making increasing appearance on shelves in health food stores and on dessert menus across town, and it did not take me long to finally give in and snatch myself a bag of this curious gemstone-lookalike when I saw some on sale at a food fair.

Serve this dessert hot for a nourishing treat or chilled for a refreshing twist
A little goes a long way: peach gum expands drastically when soaked in water
Peach gum, also known by its winsome moniker "peach blossom tears", is essentially the sap secreted from the bark of the peach tree which is harvested in its crystalline form. Naturally cholesterol-free and rich in amino acids, collagen, and soluble fiber, peach gum is widely touted for its (almost mythological) skin-beautifying power and certain curative qualities. Often likened to the coveted but controversial bird's nest in terms of properties and nutritional value, and with a texture similar to hasma, it is no wonder why peach gum - available at a fraction of the cost of other Chinese delicacies - is gaining such popularity around the world, especially among women.

What makes peach gum so good? It's cheap, and no animal cruelty is involved. I like the sound of that.
Peach gum, when soaked in water overnight, expands astonishingly in size. Read: a little goes a long way! These amber-hued, gem-like crystals plumps up into translucent clouds that are at once soft and dense to the bite, with a gelatin bouncy texture that reminds of aiyu jelly ubiquitous in Taiwanese desserts and beverages. As peach gum is generally tasteless, it features well in many desserts and soups, sometimes even stews. With as few as six crystals being plenty for a single serving, a bag of peach gum could last a remarkably long time, which translates into incredible value.

As peach gum is believed to have cooling properties in traditional Chinese medicine, cooking peach gum with dried longan and red dates give balance to this dessert
Peach gum is believed to be beneficial to both our stomach and skin
Whilst all sounds too fantastical to be real, the cleaning process, inevitably, does require some patience and time. I find rinsing the peach gum and replacing the water every now and then along the way during the soak less overwhelming than removing the dirt and debris all at once at the end. Also, a pair of kitchen tweezers would come in very handy. 

From my little experience working with peach gum, I could confidently surmise that what one pays for a peach gum dessert outside largely covers the labor cost of picking out the dirt (and rent, and then some). With just a little effort, you too can be making this nutritious dessert at next to nothing in cost. The recipe is so easy and the result so worthwhile you'd soon be making more, I promise. What would one not do for beauty?

( I must admit, I am in love with this photoshoot... I purposefully dug out from storage my late mom's collection of vintage Chinese chinaware. They will probably start appearing in more photoshoot in the near future! )

What you'll need...
1 scant tablespoon (approx. 12 g)  peach gum
8 Chinese red dates
8 dried longan
10 dried lotus seeds
1 scant tablespoon goji berries
40 g rock sugar (or to taste)
800 ml water

1. Soak peach gum in water overnight or a minimum of 6 hours. Discard water, rinse and remove any impurities.

2. Remove any sprout found in the lotus seeds. Using kitchen shears, remove the pit from the red dates. Soak lotus seeds, red dates, and dried longan in water to soften. Give the goji berries a quick rinse and set aside.

Peach gum expands up to 20 times in size, so a little goes a long way! Don't go overboard or you will regret when cleaning the peach gum...!
3. Place lotus seeds, red dates, and longan in a saucepan with 800 ml water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a rolling simmer and let simmer for 25 minutes, covered. Add peach gum, goji berries, and rock sugar and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve dessert hot or chilled. Enjoy!

【 紅棗桂圓雪蓮子桃膠糖水 】
誰說滋潤糖水只限秋冬飲用!養顏健康可謂長年累月的功夫啊~ 近年桃膠大受熱捧,口感爽滑煙韌QQ,具高纖、高植物性蛋白質的優點,而且價錢大眾化,在水裡浸發過後只需少少心機清潔好,你都能夠輕易造出甜美滋潤美顏糖水啊~ 忠告:不要貪心浸過多桃膠啊,要不然會後悔... 

不得不承認,我個人很喜歡滿意這一輯相啊~ 為了這輯相,特意尋找媽媽以前珍藏下來的一套碗碟... 重見天日後,希望多點同大家見面!

桃膠           12 克(約 1 小湯匙)
紅棗           8 粒
桂圓           8 粒
蓮子           10 粒
杞子           約 1 湯匙
冰糖           40 克(視乎個人口味)
清水           800 毫升

1. 桃膠用大量清水浸發 6 小時或過夜。去除雜質、沖洗乾淨後瀝乾桃膠備用。
2. 蓮子去芯、紅棗去核,連同桂圓用清水浸軟。杞子略沖水備用。
3. 將蓮子、紅棗、桂圓和 800 毫升清水倒入煲內,待水滾後轉中慢火煮 25 分鐘。
4. 加入桃膠、杞子和冰糖,慢火煮 15 分鐘後即成,冷熱佳宜!

備註: 浸發好的桃膠體積可增達 20 倍,所以少量已足夠!

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