Friday, February 24, 2012


I had this dessert when I was in Hong Kong, and I miss it a lot here in Canada.
I guess you probably can find it in any Chinese restaurant, but I haven't had the time to look for a good one so I decided to make it myself :)

It's very simple actually, and it only takes a few ingredients.

1/2 cup of pearl barley (you can put more if you like)
1/2 cup of ginkgo nuts (shelled and pitted)
several sheets of dried bean curd skin
Rock sugar (to taste)
1.5 - 2 litres of water
1 litre of sweetened soy milk
2-3 pandan leaves

Fried bean curd skin, pearl barley, and ginkgo nuts (these ones are still in its shell, but you can buy them de-shelled in the  refrigerated tofu section in most Chinese supermarkets)


1. Break fried bean curd skin into smaller pieces, maybe about 1"x1", or depending on how you like it in the soup. Soak it in warm water for at least half hour. This ensures that the bean curd skin will be soft and smooth when you put it in the soup.

2. Put 1.5 litres of water in the pot and bring to a boil. Then add the barley, ginkgo nuts, and pandan leaves and boil for about 30-45 minutes or until the barley is almost cooked.

3. By this time the water will be reduced, so add the soy milk into it. You may not need more or less of the soy milk; it depends on the soup:contents ratio that you like. I like it to have more soup so I add more. Add the rock sugar as well at this stage to taste. Since the soy milk you used will most likely be sweetened already,  add the sugar little by little so it's not too sweet.

4. Drain the bean curd skin; add to soup. Boil for another 15 minutes until the flavours are mixed or until the bean curd is completely soft. Some people like it in little broken pieces in their soup, and if this the case for you, the bean curd skin can be added earlier to cook further. I like mine in larger pieces, so I add it later.

Serve warm or cold! Enjoy :)

Serve warm or cold :)

Benefits of drinking this soup:
  • Ginkgo nuts are low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of protein, soy and barley are also said to help decrease and lower your cholesterol levels
  • Ginkgo nuts are a good source of complex carbohydrates (good energy source)
  • Has a lot of good vitamins and nutrients ( read this article for more information)
  • Improves memory and attention span
  • Good for your skin! 
  • Good source of fiber (from the barley)
To make this soup even healthier, you can substitute the regular sweetened soy milk with light, fortified soy milk. This is also sweetened but is fortified with calcium and vitamins. Do NOT use soy milk that is vanilla flavoured. For best results, use an Asian type of soy milk. For some reason, I think the smell is a bit different than Western soy milk, but that may just be my opinion


Don't eat too much of the ginkgo nuts. Some people maximum serving per day is 5 nuts, and others say 10. But the main point here is to take it in moderation. Too much of these nuts can give you nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, and restlessness among other things.

Other than that, this is a really easy, yummy soup to have both during summer and winter months.

Comment me on how your soups turn out or whether you have suggestions on things you can add to the soup :)


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