Beancurd Sheet Sweet Soup (腐竹糖水)
Here’s another home recipe for you. This is such a simple Chinese sweet dessert soup to make, I wonder why I don’t cook it more often at home.
In Cantonese, its called 腐竹糖水 fu chuk tong sui. Monga Sweet Cafe serves this dessert but it’s usually overcooked and mushy, with weird ingredients like a (waaay overboiled) hard boiled egg. So why not do it properly at home?
I love the texture of beancurd sheets when cooked perfectly. They’re slippery with a very slight spingyness to them. They also have this beautiful, clean, and slightly savoury taste to them that goes well in a sweet soup. Aside for the sugar in the soup, the beancurd is full of protein and is incredibly good for your health considering it’s a dessert.
I enjoy eating this dish hot if it’s just been cooked, after which, I’d just put the rest in the fridge and have it cold the next day. Both ways tastes just as good.
Lily Bulb, Lotus Seeds, White Rock Sugar | Pandan (Screwpine) Leaves
The version I like making differs from traditional-style soups in that I don’t use pearl barley, gingko nuts or boiled eggs in my soup. Barley clouds the soup and I don’t like the bitterness of gingko nuts. And whole eggs in dessert soups is just weird, but if you do use it, try using quail eggs.
You’re still more than welcome to use the traditional ingredients, it’s just a matter of knowing when to add it to the soup, and I’ve added the cue times into the recipe. As a rule of thumb, choose not more than 2-3 ingredients to pair with the beancurd sheets, otherwise it just becomes too ‘baroque’. I like my Chinese desserts simple.
For my version, I prefer having fu chuk tong sui with lily bulbs and lotus seeds. The pandan leaf is an optional (and hard to find) ingredient. It imparts a fleeting-but-wonderful aromatic fragrance to the soup, so it will only be of use if it’s served and consumed right after cooking.
When sourcing for the beancurd sheets, aim for the ones that are meant for dessert-making, and look for packs of them where the sheets are not too broken up. Ask your local Asian grocer if you’re not sure. I once accidentally bought the sheets meant for savoury dishes, they were so very salty that I had to soak them in several changes of water to remove the salt. Otherwise, you won’t need to soak the correct sheets (unless you’re a cleanliness freak).
As for lotus nuts, try to source those that have already been cored, ie. their green (bitter-tasting) endosperms centres have been removed. It’s a chore removing them yourself. The brand above usually has 98% of the nuts cored.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese ingredients, check out my blog compendium post: Traditional Chinese Herbs for Dummies.
Finally, the picture above shows you the different textures of beancurd sheets you can obtain depending on how long you cook them. I like the less cooked texture on the left. On the right, it has been cooked for too long and started to dissolve into soft mush, but some of us like it that way.
This recipe is very forgiving overall, but the key step is to watch very closely after you’ve added the sheets, and to stop the cooking process the moment it reaches the texture you want.
Beancurd Sheet Sweet Soup
Fu Chuk Tong Sui (腐竹糖水)
Bring to a boil then simmer for 30-45mins:
12 dried lotus seeds (cored)
40g rock sugar
Add & simmer for a further 30mins:
8 dried lily bulbs
Add & stir occasionally for 5-10 mins until desired texture is obtained:
70-80g dried beancurd sheets
1-2 pandan leaves (optional)
More sugar to taste, if needed
Served hot or cold.
Hard boiled quail eggs (cook and shell separately, add at the same time as the beancurd sheets)
Barley (add at the same time as the lotus seeds)
Gingko nuts (add at the same time as the lily bulbs)
For more comforting home recipes, check out my Recipes Section.