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Recipe: Barley Tongsui


One of the more commonly cooked dessert / tongsui in our household more often than not is barley. It can be a simple barley drink unsweetened which the Chinese believe cools down our body and also helps to ease water retention. The sweetened version is something that we reserve for the weekends except for last night. A few ways of preparing them and here's a recap with recipe.

Pumpkin Barley Tongsui
We stumbled upon this while dining out. A tad expensive to have a few glasses so I decided to replicate it at home based on guess works but it turned out well. A good way to get kids (and adults) to eat pumpkin.
Ingredients:
• half a pumpkin
• 1.8 litres water
• 100g barley
• 200g gingko
• 2 to 4 Screwpine leaves (Pandan)
• Sugar to taste
I prefer using longan sugar for this tongsui although any other rock sugar will do just as well.


Method:
(1) Remove pumpkin seeds and skin. Cut into cubes and puree with food processor.
(2) The core or hearts in gingko taste bitter. You can use a toothpick to push them out or the easy way is to half the gingko and just pick it up with toothpick. 
(3) Add barley and screwpine leaves to water. Cook for 20 minutes.
(4) Add gingko and pureed pumpkin. Add sugar to taste.

Depending who I am cooking the Pakkor Fuchuk Yimai for, I sometimes cook a smoother version like how my mother-in-law cooks it. My personal preference is to slurp the fuchuk or beancurd skin and to cook it with eggs plus quail eggs because that is how I grew up eating this tongsui when my maternal grandma cooks it.

Click here for the regular slurpy Barley with Gingko, Beancurd Skin and Quail Egg version. You can omit quail eggs or even eggs but the added eggs makes it much flavourful.

Creamy Barley with Gingko and Beancurd Skin
Last night, I made the smooth / creamy version of pakkor fuchuk yimai. It is pretty much the same method as above but the key lies in cooking the beancurd skin first!
Ingredients:
• 1.8 litres water
• 100g barley
• 100g fuchuk or beancurd sheets (approximately 8 pieces)
• 200g gingko
• 2 to 4 Screwpine leaves (Pandan)
• Rock sugar to taste

Method:
(1) Wash beancurd skin. Break into smaller pieces.
(2) Put beancurd skin into cold water. Place contents over stove or slow cooker. Cook to desired doneness before adding barley. It takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to cook it till its creamy on the gas stove.
(3) Add barley and screwpine leaves. Cook for 20 minutes.
(4) Add sugar to taste.
The key to cooking the beancurd skin till it is smooth is to add it to cold water and not add the barley until it cooks to the consistency that you want. You will also want to buy the beancurd skin in the larger flat sheets instead of the crinkled one that will not dissolve. One other trick is to buy it from a grocer that has a high turnover for beancurd skin. I normally buy it from the night market or my regular grocer who I can check easily when the stocks came in.

More pics in the album Barley Tongsui

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