Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Chinese dessert soup from Singapore

Last winter when my relatives visited me in Seoul, I prepared Pulut Hitam- also known as Orbeebay in Singapore- to welcome them. It was a treat as well for me. I miss the aroma and texture of the sweet black gluey-looking soup. On the contrary, during my childhood, I hated it. Too bland, too heavy. I would rather have some icecream back then. Or even an Ice KaChang, an ice shaving dessert with red, green and brown syrup, topped with red sweetened beans and condensed milk. Great for the 360 days of hot weather in Singapore.

Everyone changes their taste every now and then. So have I. Possibly being homesick plays a major role in my change of taste. I can't think of any other reasons.

Pulut Hitam is actually a piping hot sweet soupy dessert, made with black glutinous rice, water, palm sugar and coconut milk. It is sold in the food market in Singapore usually for less than 1 usd a bowl enough to keep your stomach full for an hour or 2 since it is extremely filling. It can be eaten any time of the day.

Pulut Hitam Recipe ( Sweet black glutinous rice soup)

  • 1 cup of black glutinous rice( rinse and soak overnight with enough water to cover completely);
  • 1 litre of water.
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted (Optional- it is not easily found outside SE Asia) ;
  • 100g Palm sugar( usually comes in compact form, available in asian supermarket). If it is not available, use white sugar as substitute;
  • 4 tablespoon Corn flour, mixed with 4 tablespoon of water to a smooth consisitency;
  • 1 can of Coconut milk.

Put the black glutinous rice and 10 cups of water into a pot big enough to hold twice the volume of the content. Bring the pot into a boil and simmer it uncovered for 40 mins or until the rice is soft. (Note: Check on the soup during this period of time to make sure the soup doesn't get dry, add more water to the rice if necessary.)

Break the palm sugar into smaller pieces and add it in the soup. Add pandan leaves. Stir the soup and let it simmer for another 10 mins.

Remove the pandan leaves.

Add the corn flour mixture to the soup and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. It will be ready.( If the soup is too liquid, more corn flour-water mixture can be added to it to make it thicker. )

To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and drizzle 1-2 tablespoon of coconut milk on the soup. Serve hot.


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