Chè Hạt Sen Nhãn Nhục Đười Ươi Hạt É (Summer Sweet Dessert Drink)

Ingredients

1/2 cup basil seeds (hạt é)

1 cup lotus seeds (hạt sen)

Malva nuts 1 cup (county orangutans)

1 cup dried longan (longan flesh)

1 bag rock sugar

8 cups (2 quarts) water

12 cups (3 quarts) coconut water

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Directions

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Cooking Syrup

Boil water with sugar until dissolved. Adjust sweetness if necessary. This is a refreshing drink so I like it with just a slightly taste of sweetness.  Let it cool down.

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Soaking Basil Seeds

My daughters called these basil seeds "frog eggs."

Place the basil seeds in a large strainer and quickly rinse them under running water to remove any dirt, then add water and basil seeds in a large bowl, soak for about 10 minutes or until the seeds become gelatinous.  Soaking in hot water shortens the process. Strain the seeds and set aside.

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Soaking Malva Nuts

Đười ươi - malva nuts or poonparai are fruits collected from Scaphium macropodum, sometimes called Scaphium lychnophorum or Sterculia lychnophora. The flesh surrounding the dried seeds swells to eight times its original volume when soaked in water, forming an irregularly shaped, reddish gelatinous mass. Pretty cool huh?
Quickly rinse the malva nuts to remove any dirt, then soak them in a large bowl of water for about 30 minutes or until they swell. Separate the flesh from the skin and seeds, discard the skin and seeds. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set the malva nuts flesh aside.

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Cooking Dried Lotus Seeds

Instead of dried lotus seeds, I sometimes prepare this refreshing drink with trom latex (mủ trôm) from a trom tree with the scientific name sterculia foetida tree. Since I ran out of trom latex, and my husband brought home a necklace of dried lotus seeds, it was a perfect replacement.

Wash and rinse dried lotus seeds thoroughly. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lotus seeds and bring them back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook;  covered until lotus seeds are tender - usually takes 40 minutes to 1 hour. When the seeds are soft and friable, they are fully cooked.  Strain the lotus seeds.  Place them in the syrup to impart sweetness.

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Cooking Dried Longan

Rinse dried longan quickly under running water to remove any dirt.  In a small pan, bring some syrup to a boil. Turn off the heat then add dried longan. Let it sit for about 20 minutes until dried longan are soft.

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Presentation

Combine lotus seeds, basil seeds, flesh of malva nuts, and coconut water into the longan syrup pot, stirring well.
Transfer it into a pitcher and keep it chilled in the fridge before enjoying.
Sometimes, I add fructus lycii, also called wolfberry and goji berry in this refreshing drink.  Fructus lycii is also used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine.  Some of its interesting claims include nourishing the liver, promoting vision, invigorating the kidney, and replenishing essence (whatever that means). To prepare fructus lycii, bring some of the syrup to a boil then add fructus lycii.  Turn off the heat and let it steep for a couple minutes.  Add fructus lycii and the syrup to the mixture and what you have is a gorgeous, exotic dessert waiting to be devoured.
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