Ginkgo Barley (白果薏米腐竹糖水) is one of my favourite Chinese desserts of all time. Also known as fu chok (foo chuk), this dessert tastes light, refreshing and nourishing. It is also really easy to make. Be sure to buy the soft type of bean curd skin sheets to make this dessert. The other type, which looks alike but is harder and oilier, is more suitable for making Chinese style meat stews (I found out the hard way because I use the wrong type on my first attempt of making the dessert). I cheat by using canned ginkgo nuts (where the nuts are already shelled and boiled), so the steps and cooking time for this recipe are greatly simplified.
Make sure you buy the soft type of beancurd skin to make this dessert (pictured above). The other type, which is harder and oilier, is more suitable for making savoury Chinese braises and stews.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:40 mins
100g soft beancurd skin sheets (三边腐竹) soaked in water until soft
50g barley (薏米) rinsed
3 pandan leaves tied to a knot
20 pitted red dates100g canned or vacuum-packed (boiled and shelled) ginkgo nuts (白果)
130g rock sugar (冰糖) to taste
In a pot, add water, barley, pandan leaves and red dates. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until barley is soft.
Add gingko nuts and soaked softened beancurd sheets (do not add the water used to soak the beancurd sheets), and continue simmering for another 10 minutes, or until the beancurd skin reached the consistency you like (big pieces or congee-like fine consistency; I like somewhere in between).
Add rock sugar, stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Discard pandan leaves. Serve warm or chilled.
Noob Cook Tips
Get the finer type of barley, usually labelled as pearl barley. They are easier to cook and softer to eat.
You can substitute gingko nuts with lotus nuts, or use a combination of both.