Pear with rock sugar – two ways (冰糖雪梨)

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

We all love to receive a special treat from time to time. I still remember pretending to have a bad cough and looking forward to the sweet home remedy that my mum prepared. Most of the time I got away with my little lie (of course my mum knew my tricks) and was offered a bowl of fruit dessert freshly cooked in our tiny kitchen. “Don’t be so impatient. It’s too hot to have it right away!” my mum would say. It was steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar and Goji berries, a popular Chinese remedy for cough relief.

Recently I accidentally found Asian pears in a local supermarket. Delighted, I bought some and cooked them that very night even though no one  was sick in our Red House (luckily). Asian pear, also known as Nashi pear or Chinese white pear, is quite different from pears commonly found in Europe. It has a smooth, pale yellow skin with some brown speckles. Its shape varies: some are like pears; others resemble apples. I love the texture of raw Asian pears which is firm, crunchy and very juicy. For this reason, they make a wonderful ingredient for salad. When cooked with rock sugar, Asian pear turns transparent and soft. I adore their melt-in-your-mouth texture and strong aroma enhanced by the sweetness of the rock sugar.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

In China, steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is the most popular dessert in the cold seasons. It is believed that the combination of these two ingredients has certain medicinal benefits. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this dessert can reduce excessive phlegm to effectively ease coughs caused by the common cold. I’m not able to confirm its effectiveness. However, I can guarantee its wonderful taste that will please your palate on all occasions. It’s a perfect warming dessert on cold winter days, and also a refreshing treat served cold when you need something to cool down.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

Apart from pear and rock sugar, I often add two more Chinese ingredients: dried Goji berries for both versions and dried Chinese dates for the boiled one. They are often used in preparing Chinese tonic soups because they both are considered to be part of traditional Chinese medicine. Goji berries taste a little bit like raisins, but nuttier and less sweet. Chinese dates (aka Jujube) is very different from palm dates which are commonly available in Europe. Again it’s less sweet but has a more complex taste. Not only do these two ingredients add more interesting flavours to this dish, they also give the dish an appealing colour.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

There are two ways to cook it: steam or boil. The steamed version takes longer but gives you a more intense flavour since there is no water added. The pear stays in shape so it’s more visually appealing (great choice to impress your guests). You only need half the time to finish the boiled version and you might prefer having more juice to enjoy.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

Pear with rock sugar – two ways
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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3 persons

Pear with rock sugar – two ways

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare. 

Ingredients

    For boiled version
  • 2 Asian pears (see note 1)
  • 1.5 tablespoons rock sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon dried Goji berries
  • 6-8 dried Chinese dates (optional)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • For steamed version
  • 2 Asian pears (see note 1)
  • 1.5 tablespoon rock sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried Goji berries

Instructions

  1. Boiled version: Remove the cores of the pears then slice them as you like. Place pear and all the other ingredients into a pot. Firstly, cook on a high heat. Turn the heat down to low when the water starts boiling. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes (see note 2).
  2. Steamed version: Cut off the top part of the pears (about 1/5 to 1/4 of the total height). Use a teaspoon to remove the cores. Fill the holes with rock sugar and half of the Goji berries. Put the top part back (you can use toothpicks to stabilize the two parts) then put the pears vertically into 2 small bowls. Sprinkle the remaining Goji berries around the pears. Steam on medium heat for about 40 minutes (see note 2). 

Notes

1. You may or may not peel the pear. It doesn't change the taste but of course the texture of this dessert will be different.

2. Serve it warm or chill it in the fridge before serving. It’s delicious either way.

https://redhousespice.com/pear-rock-sugar/

Give it a try on Valentine’s Day when everyone deserves something warm and sweet.

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

A traditional Chinese home remedy for cough relief. Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar is a delightful dessert very easy to prepare.

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