Making Chinese Desserts at Home
Chinese food has been rated as the most popular food in the UK for many years, a ranking it also holds in the US and some other countries as well. While many of the dishes have been “Westernised” to be more appealing to British tastes, the basic concepts and traditions of Chinese cooking have remained largely intact.
While some dishes, preparations, and presentations have been altered a bit, it is interesting that one area that remains fairly distinctly Chinese is the concept of desserts.
Checking the menus of Chinese takeaway places on a site like Hungry House or at your favourite local Chinese restaurant can lead you to believe that the Chinese don’t have what foodies call a “dessert culture.” After all the main dessert items you seem to find are fritters (which are believed to have been brought to Asia by the Portuguese), bananas, ice cream and custard tarts; which is not the most extensive dessert menu to be found.
A great deal of the concept of Chinese cooking is the blending of flavours and textures, so the concept of courses is not part of traditional Chinese cooking. This especially applies to the dessert course. Typically Chinese meals are finished with tea and fruit.
Desserts are more likely to be eaten between meals than as part of the meal.
Chinese desserts follow the basics of other Chinese dishes. The ingredients are chosen to complement one another, the recipes are fairly simple, and there is an emphasis on fresh and (relatively) healthy ingredients. Fruit desserts are very popular, as are jellies, hard candies made with honey, and even some types of soup.
Here are a couple of examples you can try at home.
Chocolate Ginger Lychees
Lychees are a delicious, delicate fruit that was first found in China but is now cultivated around the world. It is also one of the healthiest fruits on the planet with a long list of surprising benefits. For this dessert the lychee is combined with two other ingredients that have proven healthy properties: ginger and chocolate. Despite the healthy qualities of the ingredients, these bite-sized desserts are decadently sweet.
The preparation is incredibly simple.
First take your lychee (either fresh or canned) and set out to dry on a cloth for about an hour. If you are using fresh lychee you will need to peel them and remove the seed. Once the lychee is fairly dry, stuff the cavity with preserved candied ginger. Dip into warm melted semi-sweet chocolate until it is completely coated and place in the refrigerator to cool.
Marinated Lotus Root
Another tasty yet simple dessert. You simply peel fresh lotus root and cut into slices.
Blanche in boiling water for about a minute. Remove and place on a serving dish and sprinkle with a bit of sugar, and preserved green and red plums.
While you can find custard tart recipes that include directions for making the crusts from scratch, it is more than acceptable to buy prepared dough to use for the dessert. Custard tarts are incredibly rich due to the eggs and milk but they are not overly sweet.
You may also want to try your hand at Chinese Crullers, or almond cookies which you can sample from Twin Dragon first.
Or you can always try another dessert that is incredibly popular in China; ice cream.
Disclosure: Inspired by One media .