8-Treasure Sweet Soup (八宝甜汤)

“An auspicious savory to sweeten up the Chinese Lunar New Year or any day of the year”

The ‘Eight-Treasure‘ porridge, in Chinese, 八宝粥 ‘Ba Bao Zhou’, wouldn’t sound strange to many of you in Asian countries. This is an auspicious Chinese food for many Asians, symbolizing eight kinds of good treasure including wealth and health to be brought to one.

Cooking this ‘Ba Bao’ porridge is versatile. It can be cooked into briny flavor as rice congee dish (an adaption with adding of some rice grains), or make it in sweet broth as dessert.

The version I cooked is the sweet soup dessert dish. So, it’s named ‘Ba Bao’ sweet soup instead of ‘Ba Bao’ porridge. I liked dessert soup as Chinese believed in having sweet soup regularly for its skin nourishing and throat soothing effects in general. Moreover, it is delicious!

Ingredients
’8-Treasure’ consists of:
3 tablespoons of red beans
2 tablespoons of green beans
2 tablespoons of lotus seeds
2 tablespoons of ginko nuts
2 tablespoons of dried longan meat
1 tablespoon of kidney beans
1 tablespoon of barley
1 tablespoon of dried lily bulbs
Other Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of corn starch, mixed with water to make into cornstarch slurry

200 grams of raw rock sugar (roughly 2 – 3 pieces, each about a card-size with 1/2″ thickness)

1 large pot of water, three quarter filled (about 2500ml)

Method
1) Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Place kidney beans and reduce heat to medium fire. Simmer kidney beans for 20 minutes.

2) Then, place the balance 7 ‘treasures’ into the pot and bring it to a boil again.

3) Reduce heat to low fire and simmer all 8 treasures for 30 minutes, or until ingredients are cooked and softened.

4) Add rock sugar and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

5) Stir in cornstarch slurry to slightly thicken and smoothen the sweet soup. Heat off. Serve hot immediately, or chilled.

A serving of my dessert soup counts about 250kcal.

Tips: Instead of adding cornstarch slurry, you may add 2 – 3 tablespoons of tiny sago balls to yield similar consistency of the soup. Add sago at the very beginning for long boiling till turning semi-melted form.
* Soak kidney beans in water overnight, if desired. It helps to soften the beans quicker with shorter cooking time.