Hi there, dear friends 😀
I first tasted this very delicious pumpkin barley dessert (aka sweet soup or “Tong Sui” in Cantonese) at my lady healer friend’s place two years ago. In addition to its great taste, this dessert is also very nutritional to us and packs a lot of health benefits!
My children love the pumpkin barley tong sui and I would usually make a large pot of it. We would have our first bowl piping hot. Then when the remaining tong sui has cooled, I would store the whole pot in the refrigerator and the tong sui is consumed cold over the next few days (3 days is the maximum). The iced, cold version tastes even better in the hot, hazy weather that we are experiencing in Malaysia now.
Here are the health benefits of the various ingredients used in the yummy Pumpkin Barley Tong Sui (the easy to follow recipe will come after that) :-
1) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the whole pumpkin from skin to flesh to seeds have a lot of nutritional and healing functions – it is actually known as Nature’s nutritional powerhouse! Pumpkins have potent alpha-hydroxy acids that get our skin glowing, carotenoids that help us fight disease, and are rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin C to keep us looking young with lesser wrinkles.
Here are some informative links 💡 –
2) Barley is a superb source of dietary fibre and in TCM, it is known as a cooling ingredient to counter body heatiness (symptoms like sore gums, headaches, sore throats). It promotes diuresis, strengthens the spleen, benefits the gallbladder and is good for detoxifying our body.
3) Pandan leaves grow easily and abundantly in many homes in the tropical countries here is South East Asia. I love the aroma of pandan leaves and I use it quite often in making sweet soups/tong sui. Surprisingly, the common pandan leaves also have a lot of medicinal benefits such as being anti-inflammatory in nature, as a pain killer and even as a remedy of hangover according to the link below :-
Recipe for Pumpkin Barley Sweet Soup/Tong Sui (serves 20?)
There is no fixed amount for each of the ingredients used, you can vary their amounts to suit the taste buds of your family members 😉 ….
1) in a large pot – bring 4 to 5 litres of water to boil (I gave an approximation of water to be used because the amount of water will determine how thick the the consistency of the sweet soup to be. You can add on more water later.
Note – the sweet soup will thicken up more when it has been refrigerated (just add a few ice cubes into your bowl of tong sui when you eat it).
2) put in the pandan leaves and barley and boil over a medium fire (leave the pot uncovered to prevent overspill) on the stove for about 40 minutes. The longer you boil the barley, the softer its texture. If you are short of time, 30 minutes will do, too.
3) add in the pumpkin and sago, and boil for another 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the sago from sticking. The sago is to give the sweet soup a “smoother” texture.
4) if you think your sweet soup is too thick, you can add a little more water and bring it to a boil again.
5) add in the sugar, enough to suit your taste.
6) add in the Coffeemate and stir until it has dissolved thoroughly.
7) switch off the fire and your yummy sweet soup is ready for serving!
There you have it – a refreshing, delicious, guilt-free dessert that you can eat lots of and know you are improving your health with it at the same time! 😀
This is one way of making sure your children are having some “cooling” foods in this hot, tropical weather and it is something “medicinal” in nature that they actually enjoy eating!
With best wishes,