steamed honey pears in place of throat lozenges
With just four ingredients, one can make a really lovely traditional Chinese dessert that is both delicious and healthy at the same time. This dessert, which is usually taken to soothe the throat and lungs, is very popular especially amongst individuals who generally stretch their vocal chords (i.e. talk a lot) in the course of their work. The usual ingredients are:
- chinese snow pears (shuet lei, in Cantonese, or xue li, in Mandarin), which are more velvety in texture as compared to the chinese yellow sandy pears
- chuan bei (fritillaria bulbs), these are the dried little white bulbs shown in pic above (which look almost like barley) - generally used in traditional chinese medicine in the treatment of coughs and phlegm, and for general respiratory health, [caution: not advised for pregnant women]
- honey (not shown in pic)
- red dates (deseeded and chopped) - the first three ingredients set out above are the usual traditional ingredients for this steamed pear recipe - I have taken the liberty tho' of adding chopped red dates as I like the contrast in colors, and the flavor of the sweet red dates combined with honey against the chuan bei's slightly bitter sweet flavor
- soak the red dates in water until softened, then chop into smaller pieces
- peel the snow pears and remove the core - I normally flatten the bottom of the pears so that they can stand on the plate during steaming
- stuff the core of the pears with the chopped red dates and chuan bei (no more than 3 to 4 whole bulbs per pear)
- place stuffed pears on plate for steaming and drizzle with honey
- steam for at least 40 mins to 60 mins on very low fire, until the pears are soft
- to serve, place pears onto individual plates/bowls and spoon the honey sauce over the pears
Taste-wise: The pears were really velvety soft (yet not mushy) and the diluted honey sauce (combined with the juice from the pears and chopped red-dates) gave a nice finish to this dessert... very delectable served warm, straight from the steamer.
More karaoke-singing... no problem!