This is Chinese ching po leung, a type of herbal tong sui served cold. In Vietnamese, it is known as Che Sam Bo Luong. I never order this dessert at Vietnamese restaurants because most of the time, it is substituted with very cheap ingredients such as canned jelly grass and agar jelly instead of the essential dried herbal ingredients that makes up its name. I’ve been working on this recipe for a while playing with different sweet ingredient and timing of when to put certain ingredient into the pot first, next, and last so nothing is overcooked nor under-cooked to make it taste like how my mom used to make it. It’s now little foodie’s all time favorite che.
- 3/4 cup dried lotus seeds
- 1 cup dried red jujube
- 1 cup of dried longans
- 1/2 cup dried lily bulbs
- 1 cup dried shredded kelp
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 1 piece white fungus
- 1/2 cup dried goji berries
- 250 grams ginkgo nuts
- 5 quarts water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package of Chinese brown candy (one size)
- 500 gram (17oz) block of palm sugar
- 1/2 cup of dried polygonatum (omitted)
2. In an 8-quart pot, pour in 5 quarts of water. Drop in the Chinese brown candy, the block of palm sugar, dried lily bulbs, longans, and gingko nuts. Bring the water to a boil and turn heat to medium or constant light boil. Cook for 45 minutes.
3. In a 2-quart pot, cook the dried lotus seeds and pearl barley with water and some of the sweet mixture from the big pot. Bring the small pot to a boil and cook on constant light boil until the two ingredients are soft. Add more water if needed to maintain at least 2 inches above level. If you do add the dried polygonatum, you would cook it with the lotus and barley because these three ingredients takes the longest time to cook and soften up.
4. Meanwhile cooking the two pots, cut the kelp into 2-inch strips and the white fungus into small pieces. Discard the center area where it may be hard.
6. When the pearl barley and lotus seeds are soft, transfer it into the big pot mixture. Edit: Add in the salt at this time. The salt just balance out the sweetness.
Let cool, refrigerate and serve cold or warm. Keep refrigerated for up to a week. Enjoy! Someone is so excited when mommy makes this.