Singapore has been hit by a dry spell since April. High temperature got many people sick, including members of my family. The flu bug has been going around town. It started with my hubby, followed by my son, then my mother-in-law (who was here for a short vacation) and finally me (who had not fallen sick for the past 2 years!). During this period, I was drained and in no mood to cook or bake. That goes for photo shooting and writing my post too.
The Chinese believed that fever is caused by the heatiness in our body system. (Too much “yang”!!!) One remedy, besides taking bitter medicine, is to gulp down lots of cooling-effect drinks. One of them is the super-duper barley drink. It is a popular remedy for fever in most Chinese household, one that has been handed down through generations. Besides its cooling and soothing properties, barley drink has many other medicinal uses as well. It is a good diuretic利尿, and remedy for cough, lack of appetite and recurrent diarrhea in children. However, it is not recommended for nursing mothers as it will suppress lactation. (please refer to this link for futher reading).
When my son was small, he rejected barley drinks. I believe the cause lies in the “slimy” texture of the drink. No matter how hard I tried to “camourflage” it (like diluting the drink or mix it with his milk), he was smart enough to figure out the “trick” and spit it out. I almost gave up until I found this finest pearl barley (see photo). After my son tasted it, he started to fall in love with my barley drink. To my surprise, he even requested for the cooked barleys. If your child is picky with barley drink, give this recipe a try!
p/s: Stay tuned for another cooling-effect drink in my upcoming post. 😉
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RECIPE FOR BARLEY DRINK
100g uncooked barley (cleaned) – preferably pearl barley (see photo)
4-5 pandan leaves/ screwpine leaves (washed and tied in a knot)
1200 – 1500ml water
Rock sugar to taste (I used yellow rock sugar 黄晶冰糖)
- Wash and rinse the barleys. Drain and set aside.
- Bring water to boil. Add in barleys and bring the water to boil again. Simmer until the barleys become semi-soft and the water turns slightly milky. It will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Add in pandan leaves to continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Drain and discard both the barleys & pandan leaves.
- Add rock sugar to taste. Serve warm or chilled.
- Cooked barley will make the drink become “slimy” if you didn’t discard them immediately after the simmering. Just retain a small amount if you want to eat them later.
- You can substitute rock sugar with honey or preserved winter melon (糖冬瓜). Although preserved winter melon can’t be dissolved, it is edible.
- Pandan leaves will give more flavour to the drink. It can be added at the beginning but overcooking will cause the drink to taste bitter. Thus, it is recommended to add it towards the last 10 minutes.
- Tying pandan leaves in a knot is to facilitate the removal during cooking.
- When using pearl barley, it must be rinsed thoroughly with cold water as the fine white dust that adheres to it is most unwholesome. (ref source)