Almond ‘tea’

Almond ‘tea’

By
From
The Real Food of China
Serves
4
Photographer
Leanne Kitchen

This is what they call this starch-thickened dessert on the streets in Kaifeng, but it’s not a ‘tea’ at all, it’s more a ... gloop. And, granted, it sounds unpromising, but once all the sweet, texturising bits and pieces are stirred in, with plenty of sugar added, it tastes amazing and is particularly warming, perfect for wintry nights.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
60g lotus root powder

Garnishes

Quantity Ingredient
65g sweet southern apricot kernels, (see note)
115g whole blanched almonds
110g sugar, or to taste
80g black sesame seeds, or to taste
85g large white raisins, coarsely chopped, or to taste
120g glace cherries, coarsely chopped, or to taste

Method

  1. To prepare the garnishes, place the apricot kernels in a heatproof bowl, then add 500 ml boiling water and soak for 1 hour, or until softened slightly. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the whole almonds on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes, or until deep golden. Cool the almonds, then transfer to a small food processor and process until finely ground. Put the ground almonds, almond kernels and the remaining garnishes in individual bowls, ready to serve.
  3. Put the lotus root powder and 200 ml cold water in a large heatproof bowl and stir until well combined. Stirring constantly and working quickly, add 800 ml boiling water to the lotus root mixture, then stir for 2–3 minutes, or until quite thick. Immediately divide the mixture among four 400 ml serving bowls. At the table, each diner tops their bowl with 1½ tablespoons sugar or to taste, and the other garnishes to taste, then mixes the contents of the bowl together.

Note:

  • There’s an important distinction between apricot kernels in Chinese cuisine. The northern kernels are small and carry traces of cyanide, which gives them a distinctive bitterness and calls for sparing use. Southern apricot kernels are larger, heart-shaped and distinctly sweeter. Both are used in traditional Chinese medicine to soothe the throat or cure coughs. In cooking, the southern apricot kernels are added to soups and desserts. Look for them in Asian grocers (they may be labelled as ‘almond kernels’) or try a Chinese herbalist.
Tags:
China
Chinese
Asia
Asian
Real Food of China
Leanne
Kitchen
Antony
Suvalko
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