This is a heart-warming Chinese dessert, perfect for afternoon tea or at any time of day when you might crave for a sweet snack. And it’s extremely nutritious as well, as sweet potatoes are one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene. It is extremely easy and quick to prepare – as simple as putting a pot of water to boil and adding everything else!
Here, sweet potatoes are quick-boiled in a ginger soup and sweetened to taste with natural rock sugar. The pandan (screwpine) leaves impart a wonderful flavour and aroma, while adding dried longan fruit infuses the soup with a mild, musky sweetness. The soup will taste just as good if you don’t have these on hand, but the ginger is a must and is what gives this soup its zing, so if you love ginger like I do, do feel free to add more.
You can use just about any variety of sweet potato. But some varieties tend to cook quickly, and if you are not keeping a watchful eye, will start to disintegrate and ruin the appearance of the soup. Others, like the purple or dark variety, may colour the soup, and may appear unappetising, as if someone had inadvertently squirted blue ink out of a fountain pen into the soup! Nonetheless, regardless of colour, the soup will still taste wonderful!
I usually get the Japanese sweet potatoes or the Indonesian variety called honey sweet potatoes. Do try it and share with me how you like it!
This recipe makes 4 servings.
650 gm Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1/4 cup Dried Longan, washed
1-inch knob of Ginger, sliced thinly
1.5 litres of Water
Rock Sugar, to taste
4 Pandan (Screwpine) Leaves, tied into knots
1. Bring water in a pot to boil over medium fire. Add the sweet potato chunks, pandan leaves, dried longan, ginger slices and rock sugar.
Note: Dried longans impart sweetness, so it is advisable to add rock sugar in small portions and taste for desired sweetness.
2. Bring to a boil again, then lower heat. Spoon out scum on the surface of the soup as it simmers. Let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are just cooked through. Do not overcook the sweet potatoes, otherwise, it will start to disintegrate and ruin the appearance of the soup.
3. When done, remove the pandan leaves. You may also remove the ginger slices, if desired. When serving, scoop some sweet potato chunks and longan pieces into individual serving bowls, and fill with soup. Consume warm or cold.