The brown, round and dried fruit otherwise known as luo han guo or monk fruit is known for its natural sweetness and usually served as a cooling herbal tea. Typically available in Chinese medical halls and health stores, preparing a luo han guo drink is easy. Just rinse it under running tap water and crack the shell open using your hands to reveal the seeds. Simply toss them in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Then, let it simmer for around 20-30 minutes. You can serve the tea warm, chilled or add in some ice cubes. The good news is, you can improvise the luo han guo drink by trying these 6 assorted recipes at home.
1) Luo Han Guo Jelly
Instead of fruit-flavoured jelly, why not substitute it with good old luo han guo for a change? All you need to do is boiled 2-3 dried luo han guo as usual — cracked and peeled into pieces — in a pot of boiling water over medium heat. For added sweetness, you can include some honey or sugar. Once done, lower down the heat and remember to remove the peeled luo han guo’s shell and seeds from the liquid. Then, proceed by adding agar-agar (jelly) powder (you can buy it from a supermarket) into the liquid and keep stirring the mixture. When the agar-agar powder has finally dissolved, turn the stove off and pour the mixture into a bowl. Let it cool for around 10-15 minutes before placing the bowl in the refrigerator. Chill the luo han guo jelly until firm for 30 minutes before serving. Best enjoyed during sunny days.
2) Luo Han Guo With Watercress Soup
For most Chinese, watercress (or “sai yong choy” in Cantonese) soup needs no introduction. And the good news is, you can improvise the taste of the otherwise traditional watercress soup with the natural sweetness of luo han guo. Just cook the watercress soup as usual with added luo han guo fruit. Other ingredients you can add in the soup include red dates, pork bone/chicken breast and/or chopped carrots. The watercress itself is packed with numerous nutritious values such as vitamin K that promotes bone health and also high antioxidant content, which helps to keep free radicals in check.
3) Luo Han Guo With Longan Drink
A classic herbal beverage that can be served hot or iced, luo han guo with longan drink is traditionally used as a cooling remedy. And more so for those who live in tropical countries like Malaysia where we have to face hot weather all year round. Although they are commonly available in Chinese kopitams, restaurants and cafés, you can easily make your own luo han guo with longan drink at home. Just prepare these essential ingredients — luo han guo fruits, dried longan, water, rock sugar/honey –and boil them all together in a pot over medium heat. Drinking luo han guo with longan drink is also beneficial for those who suffer from cough or sore throat.
4) Luo Han Guo With Winter Melon Drink
Feeling under the weather? Here’s another cooling remedy to help disperse the heat in your body, which combines luo han guo fruits and winter melon. Like the former, winter melon has the same natural cooling properties and also contains other health benefits such as boosting the immune system, promoting digestive health and even detoxifying the body. Simply add in winter melon (you can cut or grate them into strips) in the boiling luo han guo water. You can also boost the flavour by throwing in some dried longan and finally, add some rock sugar if you want a sweeter result. Serve hot or cold.
5) White Fungus Luo Han Guo Dessert
Being a versatile fruit, it comes to no surprise that luo han guo also tastes good as part of the tong sui (literally translated as “sugar water”) recipe. And here’s one you can easily make at home: White Fungus Luo Han Guo Dessert. First, you need to soak the white fungus (alternatively known as snow fungus) in water and wash them thoroughly before cutting them into small pieces. Then, boil a pot of water and add in peeled luo han guo, white fungus as well as other ingredients like dried longan, winter melon strips, ginkgo nuts and red dates. Let it simmer for around 45 minutes. Serve warm. Just so you know, the white fungus not only helps to soothe your body but also contains anti-inflammatory properties and promotes skin health.
6) Luo Han Guo & Chrysanthemum Tea
Looking for more alternatives to cool down your body? Try the combination of luo han guo and chrysanthemum, where both of them contain natural cooling properties. Not to mention it helps to soothe a sore throat as well as easing coughs and moistening the lungs. By chrysanthemum, we mean purchasing the dried flower varieties, which can be found in Chinese medical halls, health stores and supermarkets. Before you add in the chrysanthemum flowers, make sure you roughly rinse and drain them. Likewise, bring the water to a boil together with peeled luo han guo fruit(s) and dried chrysanthemum flowers. You can sweeten the herbal tea with wolfberries, rock sugar or honey, even though both luo han guo and chrysanthemum themselves have their own sweetness. Serve warm.