Summer in Vietnam can be brutal with the average temperature hitting in the high 80F’s and with the suffocating humidity, it can feel like it’s 100F degrees. I remembered taking two to three showers a day when I was visiting my family in July. As a result, locals turn to refreshing food and drinks such as longan and lotus seed summer pudding served with a generous scoop of ice in order to keep cool. This chè comprises of sweet longan, crunchy lotus seeds, and other ingredients that are also common Chinese herbal medicine known to have cooling properties. Don’t worry…this dessert will not taste like medicine but it does help keep your body from melting during a hot summer day.
1 cup of dried lotus seeds
1/2 cup of dried logan meat (You can substitute with dried lychee.)
8 dried red dates (red jujube)
12 dried black dates (dried Ziziphus jujuba mill)
1 cup of rock sugar.
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 cups of water
Soak all the dry ingredients for 1 hour and rinse to remove any impurities.
Boil 5 cups of water in a large pot. Add 1 cup of lotus seeds and turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes until the seeds soften.
Add 1 cup of rock sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add all the remaining ingredients and turn the heat up to medium-high and boil for another 10 minutes until the longan and other ingredients have softened and soaked up some of the sweet broth. Skim and discard any foam. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Serve this refreshing pudding chill with a generous scoop of ice for the best taste.
Authors: Susan Tran and Chau Hoang
Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)