This papaya and snow fungus sweet soup is great as a cold dessert. It helps to refresh the body in hot weather and is excellent after eating lots of deep fried foods.
The soup also has benefits for skin beauty. Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C, A and B-complex, and contains soluble fibre, which helps to prevent constipation.
Papaya, red dates and dried longan fruits have their own natural sweetness, so you can leave the rock sugar out of this dessert soup, if you want to take less sugar.
- 400-450 g papaya, ripe and firm
- 70-80 g rock sugar
- 20 g snow fungus
- 20 g sweet Chinese almond (Nan Xing)
- 15 g wolfberries or goji berries
- 6 red dates, stones removed
- 6 dried longan
- 6-8 pandan leaves, washed and tied in a knot
- 2 litres water
Soak the dry snow fungus in a bowl of cool tap water until it expands to double its size. This takes about 20 mins.
Discard water and wash snow fungus under running water to remove grit. Cut off dry stem and tear soft snow fungus into bite sized pieces.
Peel papaya, cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds, wash in cold water and pat dry using a paper towel or dishcloth. Cut papaya into big chunks and set aside.
Remove stone from the red dates. Rinse and set aside.
Wash pandan leaves. Fold 8 leaves in half and tie a knot. Rinse sweet Chinese almond (Nan Xing) in cool water and set aside.
In a pot, add rock sugar to 2 litres of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, put in knot of pandan leaves. Boil for a further 10 mins. Remove pandan leaves and discard.
Reduce fire to medium. Add snow fungus, sweet Chinese almonds (Nan xing), dried longan. Boil for about 35 mins. Soup can be served hot or cold.
TIP “Chinese almonds” are not almond nuts at all. “Chinese almonds” are the seeds of apricot fruit. The confusion is because they look and smell similar, and both are called 杏仁 “xingren” in Chinese.
There are two different kinds of “Chinese almonds” Bei Xing – or northern bitter Chinese almonds and Nan Xing – or southern sweet Chinese almonds. The sweet almond is usually used in food, while the bitter almonds are usually used in Chinese medicine.
Sweet almonds have a sweet taste and are neutral in nature. It is non-toxic and relieves dry cough. Bitter almonds taste bitter and are warm in nature. They’re slightly toxic, but are used in medicine to treat wet coughs. Children and pregnant women should avoid Chinese bitter almonds.