Anti-ageing Double-Boiled Peach Gum Dessert. Photos: Grace Fong, Evonne Lyn Lee.
By Grace Fong
More than just a classic Chinese dessert, this anti-ageing tonic brims with health-giving ingredients. Peach gum and snow lotus seeds, both containing antioxidant and anti-ageing properties, and are known to enhance a radiant, youthful complexion when consumed regularly.
Total Time: 2½ hours
A: Tonic Ingredients
30g (approximately 10 pieces) peach gum, soaked overnight and rinsed to be rid of impurities
10g snow lotus seeds, soaked 3 hours till softened
20g Chinese almonds
80g fresh ginkgo nuts, shelled and peeled
80g fresh lotus seeds
2 tablespoons wolfberry/goji berries
One small Chinese pear – peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
One ripe papaya* about 400g – peeled, seeded and sliced
25g Chinese yam (wai san in Chinese or nagaimo in Japanese), peeled and sliced
B: Pandan-scented Syrup
1.7 litres water
4 pandan leaves
200g rock sugar
C: For Steaming
2 litres water
1. Place B ingredients in a small pot. Cook over high until the sugar melts. Set it aside.
2. Combine A ingredients except goji berries in a deep double-boiler. Pour in syrup.
3. Fill wok or deep saucepan with 2 litres of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Place double-boiler on a steaming rack. Reduce to slow heat and cook for 2 to 2.5 hours.
4. Add in goji berries. Cook another 5 minutes. Turn heat off.
5. Serve dessert warm or chilled.
NOTE: Peach gum is the edible gelatinous secretion of the Chinese peach tree bark. Regarded as a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, it is highly favoured for its rich collagen among women.
Snow lotus is the wild flower that grows in the mountainous regions of the Himalayas – the blooms remain white despite growing at high altitudes of 5,000 metres above sea level, hence its label ‘snow’. Prized for its medicinal properties – antioxidant and anti-ageing benefits – snow lotus is believed to promote radiant and youthful complexion when eaten regularly. Both ingredients are available in Chinese medical halls.
Wai San or Chinese yam is an elongated tuber that is often prepared as a congenital tonic to nourish the kidney and spleen.
*TIP: Choose ripe papaya that is still firm to the touch. Its deep red hues add colour to the dessert.
TECHNIQUE: The Chinese technique of double-boiling requires a soup vessel made of ceramic with double lids (to minimise evaporation): a flat inner lid and an outer dome-shaped lid. Food is cooked over gentle low heat for several hours so that the nutrients are slowly released. This process locks in wholesome flavours of every single ingredient during cooking.
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