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: Steamed Pear with Rock Sugar (冰糖雪梨), a popular Chinese remedy for cough relief.
What are Asian pears
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 salads. 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 home remedy for cough
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.
Add Goji berries & Chinese dates
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.
Two cooking methods: steam or boil
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.Print Pin
See note 1
or to taste
dried Goji berries
dried Chinese dates
See note 1
dried Goji berries
5 Secrets of Authentic Chinese CookingGet the guide for FREE
Remove the cores of the pears then slice them the way you like.
Add pear and all the other ingredients into a pot.
Firstly cook on high heat. Turn the heat down to low when the water starts boiling.
Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes (see note 2).
Cut off the top part of the pears (about ⅕ to ¼ 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).
1. You may or may not peel the pear. It doesn’t change the taste but the texture of this dessert.
2. Serve it warm or chill it in the fridge before serving. Both ways are delicious.
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