Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ching Bo Leung Dessert Soup

ETA: If you are pregnant, or on your period, please use caution when cooking up herbal Chinese dishes. Cooling herbs can harm a fetus in the first trimester, according to Chinese mothers, and (from my own experience) cooling herbs during certain parts of your cycle can be...well, it's not fun. (Sorry guys. Just keeping it real.) Now. Read on!

Yes. Ching Bo Leung. It means…it’s a dessert soup that clears up pesky yiht hei. And, umm…well, yiht hei is, as far as I can explain it, an imbalance in the body. It’s an imbalance of cold and hot, in Chinese lingo, and pH balance problem in Western lingo. I think.  Anyhow, too much yiht in you will give you zits, canker sores, bad breath, etc.  Nothing good! Luckily, there are things you can eat to counteract the yiht (which comes from eating too many rich foods…like chocolate cake. And hamburgers. And things that are yummy.) There are piles and piles of herbs that the Chinese use to get themselves back on track when they’ve overindulged. And, luckily for me, the addition of sugar does not hamper the effects of these herbs. Yea!

Ready to make some Chinese dessert soup? Let’s go!
First, let’s meet some new friends.  (With the help of my lovely mother in law, who we call MaMa)
Wai San
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Lin Ji
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Yuk Juk
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Yi Mai
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Got all that? Great! Now, let’s rally the troops.
You’ll need (per person):
1 egg (raw, in the shell)
4 wai san (Chinese yam)
5 lihn ji (lotus seed)
5 lung ngan yuk (dried longan fruit)
Plus, per pot:
2 yuhk juk (solomon’s seal)
1 Tbsp. yi mai (millet, or coix seed. I’ve heard it both ways)
Rock Sugar

Find your soup pot and fill it about 3/4 of the way with water. Add your eggs, whole, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, grab your dry ingredients (except the longan) and pop them into a small bowl. Fill the bowl with water, and use your hands to swirl and swish. You want all the dust, sand, grit and history washed off of your fabulous dried herbs.
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You’re going to repeat the process a few times, and then fill the bowl again and let everything soak for a minute.
Plunk your Longan into a smaller bowl, and do the same thing with them. Set aside your Longan.
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When your pot comes to a boil, carefully add your (washed) dried ingredients from the larger bowl. (Remember, the longan are set aside for now.)  Use your hands to carefully fish out the cleaned ingredients. If you were to just pour the whole bowl into your pot, you’d still have plenty of sand and grit in your soup. Not tasty.

Reduce your heat to low, and simmer your soup for three hours. Half an hour before you are ready to serve it, add your longan and rock sugar, to taste. Cook for 30 minutes, and serve.



  1. Wow. I can honestly say, aside from the sugar, I haven't even the slightest idea how this would taste. Could you elaborate on what the flavor is like? Sounds so interesting. Pretty sure I am suffering from some yiht hei, or maybe it's just pregnancy.

  2. Ack! I completely forgot to mention pregnant ladies. Whether or not you can eat something like this depends on what trimester you're in. Cooling things CAN hurt a fetus, especially in the first trimester. Elsie (my MIL) swears that two of her sisters had self-induced abortions by simple eating EXTREMELY cooling things. (There is a kind of jell-o made of herbs that I am never allowed to have if I'm pregnant. My MIL got mad when she found out I was eating watermelon every day, to help with the water-weight gain. Watermelon is cooling. Luckily (for me) I told her I was in my second trimester. She was mollified...but told me not to eat too much.)

    The taste...it's floral, and slightly nutty. The lotus seeds are like bitter peanuts, the longan are sweet like raisins. The eggs are everybody's favorite part - after boiling in the herbal broth for three hours, the whites are tan colored and taste wonderful. They've sucked up all the flavors from the herbs.

    If you want, I can ask her what kinds of things you could have right now? What trimester are you in? She's here for chinese New Year, and having a post about these things would be a useful thing to keep on hand!

  3. That sounds quite good. I'm soooo lazy to drive downtown for ingredients. Sometimes I just have to use ingredients that are easy to find

    To cool the body (actually, just because it taste so good), I pressure cook ya pears (peeled) with barley. I can find these at the local grocery store, you see :)

    Anyway, about pregnancy, my mum never really gave me any grief about the food I ate. Except after giving birth. Then it was all about eating "heaty" foods.