A sweet dessert that nourishes the skin, lungs, intestines and improves digestion. What’s not to love about this almond cream? 🙂
Chinese almond cream dessert is commonly found in dessert shops in Singapore. The taste, however, is never as smooth, nor as fragrant as it should be. To cut costs, some use premixed almond powder, while others use corn starch to thicken the almond cream. Most of all, the quantity of almonds used is too little. Cheap almond extract is added instead to improve the flavor.
This recipe is sourced from a Cantonese blogger. I did not change anything, since this is my first attempt. However, I have some ideas which I will share.
Chinese Almond Cream (adapted from maymay’s vegetarianism)
- 7 taels of south (sweet) almonds
- 1 tael of north (bitter) almonds
- estimated 70-80 grams rock sugar
- 1500 ml water
- 30 grams white rice grains
- 125 ml water
- Wash both types of almonds and place in a colander or sieve to drip dry, for about half an hour.
- Wash rice grains and submerge in enough water to cover the grains for half an hour.
- Blend rice grains with 125 ml of water until fine. Set aside.
- Stir-fry both types of almonds in a stainless steel pot until fragrant.
- Blend almonds with 500 ml of water until texture resembles a paste. Scoop out onto a sieve lined with a cheesecloth. Carefully press out the almond cream, making sure none of the residue falls in.
- Blend almond residue with another 250 ml of water. Repeat pressing out the almond cream.
- Pour almond cream into a stainless steel pot. Add in remaining 750 ml of water and the blended rice water. Cook over low fire until mixture is thickened, resembling yogurt (not greek yogurt).
- Add sugar and cook until dissolved. Serve warm.
Note: According to this site, a Chinese tael is equal to 50 grams.
North and south almonds can be purchased from chinese medical shops.
Chinese almonds are actually apricot kernels. Now, it is very important not to mix up the almonds. North almonds are toxic if consumed in large quantities. In addition, it must be cooked, as it also contains cyanide. So why fool around with this dangerous almond? It does help in aiding digestion and soothing coughs, when eaten in appropriate quantities.
- Blending rice until it is fine enough with my blender is a problem. Even after 5 minutes of blending, it is not fine enough. I still went ahead to cook the almond cream with this blended rice. After 30 minutes of boiling and no sign of the rice bits disappearing, I whipped out the blender and blitzed it another time. After blending again, I passed the almond cream through the tea strainer. The almond cream was then cooked over a low fire until yogurt-like texture.
- How sweet you like the dessert is up to you. Add the least amount of sugar (suggest 50 grams) and if it is not enough, you can always add more. If too much is added, the dessert is ruined and all the effort gone to waste. This is one dessert that you cannot add more water to reduce the sweetness since it is meant have a yogurt-like texture.
- It took an hour to reduce to a thin yogurt-like texture. Near to the end, I was standing at the stove stirring the almond cream constantly to prevent it bubbling up all over the stove. By the time the correct texture was achieved, I had only about 3 1/2 chinese rice bowls of almond cream. I think the next time I make this dessert, I will increase the rice to 50 grams to make the cream thicker.