Coolers for Lazy Hazy Days
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
You’d have to be a baby boomer or a retro fan to know this jolly song – a hit for Nat King Cole in 1963. Unfortunately for us, while it’s seriously hazy in Singapore, it’s neither summer nor a time to “dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer” as the lyricist suggests.
Sadly, we can’t see the sun or moon through the ashen debris. And since we are told it’s going to be several weeks before we can unmask our miserable faces, it’s best to stay indoors and find ways to keep happily hydrated to prevent throat irritation. Boost your immune system while you’re at it. Instead of carbonated beverages, make sweet soups like cheng tng.
30g white fungus
1 teaspoon thinly sliced American ginseng
1 tablespoon goji, rinse before use
50g rock sugar or more to taste
- Soak white fungus in warm water for at least 30 minutes or until very puffy.
- Combine 4 cups of water and softened white fungus in a small tall pot. Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add rock sugar, ginseng slices and goji.
- Continue to simmer for another ½ hour. Serve hot or chilled.
Red Bean Sweet Soup
Makes 6 cups
200g dry red beans
1 fresh ear of corn (or canned corn)
150g rock sugar
2 tablespoons sago
1 knotted pandan leaf
- Soak red beans in water for an hour.
- Remove leaves and silky threads from corn. Cut and discard stem, and halve corn. Halve again lengthwise and cut away core. Cut into 2cm pieces.
- Rinse and drain red beans. In a large pot, combine 6 cups water, knotted pandan leaf, red beans and corn and bring to a rolling boil.
- Rinse and soak sago for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup water to boiling red beans. Strain sago in a sieve and add to red bean soup. Stir and allow mixture to boil again.
- Add rock sugar and leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until red beans soften.
- Stir occasionally to prevent sago from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Serve hot or chilled.
This favourite Thai dessert might not be as nutritionally beneficial as the sweet soups, but on a hot and hazy day you just need a sweet, cold and comforting treat.
Water Chestnut Rubies
500g water chestnuts
1 cup tapioca flour
¼ teaspoon red food colouring
3-4 pandan leaves, knotted
A pinch of salt
- Combine sugar, ½ cup water and pandan leaves in a pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool syrup before using.
- Mix grated coconut with ¾ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Squeeze for milk. Keep chilled. Alternatively, use chilled fresh coconut milk.
- Scrub water chestnuts and rinse to thoroughly wash off mud. Cut into small cubes, about 5mm.
- Dilute red colouring with 1 tablespoon water in a big bowl. Toss the diced water chestnuts to coat evenly.
- Put tapioca flour in a plastic bag and spoon water chestnut cubes into bag. Hold the bag closed and give it a good shake until water chestnuts are well coated in flour. Pour into a colander and shake off excess flour.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the coated water chestnuts and keep stirring until the red rubies float. Have a bowl of cold water ready. Drop rubies into the water so they don’t stick.
- To serve, pour ½ cup chilled coconut milk into a small bowl or glass. Scoop out about ¼ cup of rubies with a sieve. Add a tablespoon of syrup and crushed ice.