Thursday, June 19, 2008

Loh Hon Goh

This best home-brewed tong sui recipe came from my sister, Pit, many years ago which has since become one of our favourites. We call it loh hon goh but I think in the kopitiam (coffee shop) it is referred to as tung kwa leong cha (winter melon cooling tea). I find most shops would use candied winter melon instead of fresh melon. It really taste so much more aromatic with fresh melon. Another trick to give this tong sui a rich caramel taste and aroma is to add a few pieces of gula melaka (palm sugar) when adjusting the taste. I also like to add more lieu (ingredient) like dried longan meat, thinly sliced dried persimmon or sea coconut, if available, to make this more a dessert than a drink.

Fresh winter-melon, loh hon goh, tai hoi lam, rock sugar, longan

4 L water
2 loh hon goh (Buddha's fruit), wash and cracked open
10 tai hoi lam, washed and soaked
200g winter melon flesh, finely shredded
1/2 cup dried longans, rinsed
rock sugar  
gula melaka (optional)  

Tai hoi lam is an olive-like dried fruit. When soaked in water it expands more than double its size and the flesh is transparent and feels like jelly. The outer skin has to be discarded and that's the part I find most tedious in this whole process of preparing the tong sui. The skin can be easily detected when soak in water as they are opaque while the flesh is transparent. At the top of the bowl of soaked tai hoi lam you can easily see a small black triangle speck floating on the water - that's the skin to be discarded. This ingredient is used more for the texture than its taste. Strain away the soaking water and it is ready to be used. 

Bring the winter melon, loh hon goh (skin and seeds) and water to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 3 hours. 
Fish out the loh hon goh and discard. 
Add the sugars to taste. Turn the heat off. 
Add the soaked tai hoi lam and dried longans. Let it stand for a minute and it is ready to be served hot.
Leave in the fridge and you can have icy cold tong sui whenever the weather get unbearably hot.


wmw said...

I love drinking this but have come across some rather bitter ones (not that I made it! Hahaha)

a feast, everyday said...

Loh hon goh itself has a sweet bitterness. Chinese do believe tt the more bitter the herb the more cooling it is...;-p I think the result of too bitter a drink is too much of the loh hon goh is used.

molly said...

Nice blog.
What is 'Tai Hoi Lam'? Can get it at Chinese medicine shop?
Have a nice day!

a feast, everyday said...

They look like dry wrinkled olives and yes, easily gotten fr chinese medicine shop.
Nice day to u too :-)

molly said...

Hi Thanks for dropping by my blog. I have added you in my Link list.

a feast, everyday said...

My pleasure, very interesting blog and thanks for the link.

Greg Wee said...

Heay Great blog. nice photos and plenty of recipes. i love tong shui and this looks good. ~ Nee.

a feast, everyday said...

Hi nee, tq, love ur blog too. Great recipes.