My grandmother used to always prepare Lotus Root Sweet Soup with Fig and Honey Dates whenever we lost our appetites, because it is known as a 开胃汤 Kai Wei Tang (appetite enhancing nourishing soup) which is suitable for all ages whether young or ‘young at heart’.
The three main ingredients all have superb healing properties:
- The first ingredient – Lotus Root or 莲藕 Lian Ou (in Mandarin) is rich in Vitamin C and is an excellent source of dietary fibre. Moreover, it also has a wide range of health benefits which include lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, boosting the immune system, improving digestion, balancing mood swing, reducing depression and the list goes on. In Asian cuisine, lotus root is frequently used for soup, or for deep-frying, stir frying or braising as a vegetable dish. In addition, it can also be served as a Cooling Herbal Tea or 凉茶 because its cooling properties help to reduce internal heatiness in the body, improve appetite as well as restore balance to the body.
- The second ingredient – Fig is sweet and juicy when ripe and it is a very good source of fibre, magnesium, potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), calcium (which promotes bone density) and the vitamins. Not only that, figs (whether fresh or dried) also contain powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body and help to fight disease.
- The third ingredient – dried Chinese Honey dates or 蜜枣 Mi Zhao (in Mandarin) are light brown in color and are used as sweeteners in traditional Chinese nourishing soup and herbal drinks. They are rich in iron and also have cooling properties.
When these three ingredients are combined, you get a super powerful antioxidant-rich cooling sweet soup to combat heatiness and promote balance in the body. And it was for this very reason that I decided to cook this lotus root sweet soup with figs and honey dates as a herbal drink for my family, because the weather has been extremely hot in the last few weeks. Everyone enjoyed it, because it is a particularly refreshing and pleasant drink especially when served very chilled on a hot day!
Note: For Special Diets, please read the notes at the bottom for suggested modifications.
Lotus Root, figs and honey dates all have superb healing properties, so when they are combined, you get a super powerful antioxidant-rich cooling sweet soup to combat heatiness and promote balance in the body!
- 250 g Lotus Root
- 20 g Wolfberries
- 6-8 Red Dates
- 6-7 Figs
- 4 Dried Chinese Honey Dates
- 2.5 litres Water
Use a brush to scrub the lotus root well to get rid any mud.
Wash the lotus root thoroughly. Cut away the joints (the hard parts in between the sections of the lotus root and discard. Then slice the lotus root sections into thin slices.
Remove the seeds from the red dates and rinse.
Rinse the figs, honey dates and wolfberries.
Add the 2.5 litres of water to a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add in the lotus root slices, figs, honey dates and red dates, then continue to boil over medium heat for 40 minutes.
Add in the wolfberries and boil for a further 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat.The lotus root sweet soup is now ready to be served either hot and chilled.
- How to choose lotus root?
- Choose a stout lotus root that is heavy and firm.
- Each section of the lotus root should be regularly shaped and straight.
- The color of the lotus root should be vibrant brown.
- Try to avoid lotus root that have bruises or dark soft spots on the skin or look dehydrated and too white.
- Lotus roots coated with mud are sold at wet markets. I prefer to buy this type of lotus root if possible, as they are very fresh. The green grocer will usually scrap off some of the mud before weighing.
- Try not to wash the mud off if you are not cooking it straightaway. Leaving the mud on the lotus root will preserve its freshness when you keep in the fridge for a few days.
- Please wrap the lotus root with newspaper before putting in the fridge to prevent dehydration.
- To prevent the lotus root from turning brown after slicing, you can soak it in cold water with a little vinegar.
- If you prefer the soup to be sweeter, you can add some rock sugar.
- Try not to eat raw lotus root as it may harbour parasites that are often found in aquatic plants (same goes for water chestnuts if they are not washed properly!). These parasites may cling on to our intestines and cause stomach ache, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and intestinal discomfort. Cooking kills the parasites and makes them safe to consume.
- It does not matter whether you peel off the skin of the lotus root or not as long as it has been washed thoroughly. As for me I usually leave the skin on unless it has too many brown spots that look unpresentable.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Baby/Toddler-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Vegan: No modifications needed.
- Vegetarian: No modifications needed
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