Thursday, September 2, 2010

Healthy desserts?

It probably doesn't look like much, but this is one of the best winter dessert in my repertoire.

Sweet potato in brown sugar ginger tea.

Ginger, according to doctrines of Chinese medicine, warms up the body. Brown sugar helps with blood circulation, which in turn improves the flow of chi in the body. Sweet potato helps with reducing water retention in the body, and being high in fiber, helps also with digestion.

The ginger tea featured here is one I brought back from Taiwan. Sold in bags, it resembles nothing like the sugar we are familiar with in Australia. 

Sold in 5cm blocks, this is basically enough to make 2 large mugs of sweet ginger tea. The perfect balance of sugar, the spiciness of ginger, with the aroma of dried dates and longan (both improve circulation and warm the body), the perfect winter drink.

With all the rich and fatty food we tend to consume in winter, and general colder weather, this is a delicious way to restore a balance of health.

Sweet potato in brown sugar ginger tea
Serves 2-3
1 small sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
4 heaped tablespoons brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1 knob of old ginger, sliced thinly
3 dried red dates or 2 dried black dates
4 dried longan
1 litre water

1. Wash the sweet potato thoroughly, scrub the skin with steel wool to ensure most of the surface dirt has been removed. Cut into bite sized chunks, then place into a pot with the cold water, and set to the boil.
2. After the sweet potatoes have come to the boil, add the sugar, ginger, dates and longan, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft (10-20 minutes). Serve immediately.

1. Dried red dates, dried black dates, and dried longan should be available from all good Asian grocers. You should be able to find them at the Chinese or Korean ones.
2. Old ginger should be used for this recipe rather than young ginger. Look for large knobs, golden skin, with wide stripes on the skin. Adjust the amount of ginger to your preference by adding the ginger little by little, keeping in mind the more you cook the ginger, the spicier the tea will become.
3. If you can find Okinawa brown sugar (沖縄黒糖) for cooking (and not as candy), that can be used as well. Otherwise, normal brown sugar from CSR is ok.


  1. My mother would love this but unfortunately I'm not a fan of sweet potato and very selective about Chinese desserts. Although I grew up with all of them, I have yet to acquire a taste even after all these years!

  2. I finally made this with Hong Ji's Jiang Mu Cha from Taiwan. I tend to use Purple-skinned Japanese Sweet Potato instead, as I prefer the denser texture. Lovely if u have a hankering for something sweet but dont want to pack on the calories.