Sunday, 4 January 2015

Barley Gingko dessert 白果腐竹薏米

This has always been my favourite Chinese dessert. My mom cooks it so well. It's smooth in a way that I cannot describe, the beancurd skin is so soft that you just need to swallow, and the taste is rich and not just mere sweetness. My husband likes it too which is rare because he doesn't have a habit of eating sweet desserts like the Cantonese, me, do. We think cooking over a charcoal stove is a big factor. 
I tried cooking this a few times fleetingly over the past years, each time failing miserably. Last week I seemed to have come close to it. Yesterday I tried again, we think it's rather good, the best that can be achieved from cooking over a gas stove. One day I have to let my mom try it!

- Barley: measure 1 flat tablespoon (not heaped) per serving

- Water: measure 1 rice bowl per serving and then plus 1 more bowl

- Beancurd skin: make sure you buy the one for dessert

- Honey rock sugar: to taste (as reference, I used about 4 pieces for 10 servings)

- Gingko nuts: as reference I buy 50 cents worth for 10 servings 

- Quail eggs (optional)

1) Measure your barley and rinse once under the tap. 

2) Add water to the pot and put over high heat till it boils. Then turn down to the lowest fire on the stove. I use this kind of pot hoping that it retains heat better and thus contribute to the smooth taste. Expect to boil for about 2-3 hours. 

3) Boil the quail eggs and remove the shells. Concurrently do step 4.

4) Remove the shell and skin of the gingko nuts. Then cut it in half to remove the core, otherwise the nuts will be bitter. Add to the pot when done. 

5) When the barley is soft, roughly after 1 hour, crush the beancurd skin in a bowl and add to the pot. Boil for about 1 hour so the skin will be super soft. 

6) Add the quail eggs and sugar to taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking, just add more water. 
Note: if you are not sure how much sugar to add, do it little by little until it's sweet enough. 

And you are done! If you have leftovers just put them in the fridge. It's nice as a cold dessert too. 

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