How To Make Bingfen Or Ice Jelly?
So.It’s a sweltering summer day.the mid-day sun is beating down on you.
So you duck into some shade, taking your requisite glug of water, settle down, and munch on.
I think everybody’s got their thing.
For some, maybe it’s ice cream.
For others, some cut watermelon, or perhaps an ice-cold lager.
How To Make Bingfen Or Ice Jelly?
But today we wanted to teach you how to make what we consider to be one of the world’s great hot weather snacks – bingfen ice jelly.
See, as befitting an area that’s nicknamed ‘the furnace of China’ in parts, this stuff is from the Southwest.
It’s light, refreshing, and basically the definition of a great summer dish.
So we wanted to show you two sorts– first, a nutty syrupy one called hong tang bingfen, which’s probably the most classic .then,
also, show you some Leshan-style san xian bingfen with lemon and rice balls, which are our personal favorite variety.
So, to get started with Bingfen ice jelly, you’ll need Bingfen ice jelly seeds.
Well, traditionally that is.
See, these are the seeds of the shoofly plant, and while that is a new world plant the seeds themselves aren’t really commercially
available in the West.
So while we will be showing you the process of how to use these – the very best Bingfen use them, after all – we also wanted to show you how to make it with this stuff: Cantonese clear grass jelly, which should be available at most Chinese supermarkets.
So, the clear jelly up first.
Process’s easy enough – first just mix 10 grams of your powdered jelly with 125 milliliters of water and set that aside.
Then grab a saucepan, toss in 625 milliliters of water, and bring that all up to a boil.
Now pour in that jelly-water mixture from before, heat off, and give it a real good mix.
As an aside, definitely don’t feel bad about going this route – if you get Bingfen in China outside of the Southwest, usually vendors make the same exact sub.
So then just pour it into something heatproof, let it cool to roughly room temperature, and toss that in the fridge for at least four
hours and overnight would also be just fine.
Next, the seeds.
While I do know that there’ll probably be unavailable for most of you, we did want to show you the process anyway because it
is quite cool.
So first we’ll be tossing 50 grams of our shoofly seeds on a cloth and twisting it closed.
You gotta make sure that you don’t go too tight here though, something like this is perfect.
Then just dip that in 1.25 liters of bottled water and let it soak for ten minutes.
After that time, you should be able to see some jelly-like substance oozing out of your seed bag when you squeeze it.
That gel will thicken this water, but we will need to do a bang-up job scrubbing this thing to get it all out.
What we’re doing here is extracting the pectin from the seeds, which does take a bit of patience.
See, the old story goes that bingfen was invented in the Qing dynasty when a woman was carrying shoofly seeds in a pouch and fell into a stream.
Afterward, when she was washing her clothes, she apparently found that her seed pouch was, lo and behold, now filled with jelly.
And while that story’s almost certainly apocryphal, it does speak a bit to the essence of the technique here – just scrub that bag as if it was some laundry that you were doing by hand.
You’ll be done once the bag is no longer slimy to the touch, which should be about eight to ten minutes’ worth of thorough scrubbing.
Now, to give that jelly a proper bite, we’ll then mix it with some calcium hydroxide, a.k.a.pickling lime.
So in a separate bowl mix three grams – or about three-quarters of a teaspoon – of lime with 250 milliliters of water.
Mix, and let that settle for about an hour.
When adding that to the jelly we’ll just be adding the liquid here, but not the powder at the bottom.
So then just like the clear jelly, we can now toss that in the fridge for at least four hours and overnight is also perfect.
So next day now, let’s take a look at our Bingfens.
Now, most obviously, the one on the left side made from the seeds has this really distinctive yellow-ish color – that’s actually a tell-tale marker of a Bingfen made from Shoofly.
It’s a bit firmer and toothier than the Bingfen made from the powder, which’s a little more watery.
That said, the sort on the right is also perfectly delicious, so either way, let’s show you how to dress those up.
First up, the hongtang bingfen.
There’s a number of different directions you can go with these toppings, but these days you’ll usually find some rice cakes in the mix.
Either way, just get it into about a one-centimeter dice and toss in some boiling water.
Blanch for about thirty seconds, toss in some cool water to stop the cooking process, and strain that thoroughly.
Then move it over to a bowl mix with about three tablespoons worth of toasted soybean powder to thoroughly coat, and that is good to go.
Then, of course, this bingfen also needs its namesake the syrup.
This stuff was made from 60 grams of dark brown sugar, 30 grams of rock sugar, and 180 grams of water.
Just cook that all over low heat for about ten minutes, or until the sugar’s completely melted and thickened slightly.
Then besides that, we’ve also got some watermelon, cut into one-inch cubes some toasted peanuts, lightly pounded in a mortar a bit of toasted black sesame seeds, and a few raisins to finish it off.
So to a bowl with 250 grams of your bingfen ice jelly, toss in two tablespoons of the rice cake, one tablespoon of the toasted pounded peanuts, a half tablespoon of the toasted black sesame seeds, about twelve or so raisins, a quarter cup of your watermelon cubes, and top it all off with five tablespoons of syrup.
And with that, the nutty syrup hong tang bingfen is good to go.
Next up, the Leshan-style lemon san xian bingfen, which’s not only our personal favorite but also probably a bit easier logistically
to whip up at home.
To give this one a bit of texture though,it’ll need some of these sticky rice balls.
Now, you should be able to find these in the frozen section of your local Asian supermarket, but if not we’ve also got a quick recipe
for how to roll these guys yourself in the description box.
Assuming that you’re working with the frozen sort though, just dump them into some boiling water – no need to thaw – and let those boil.
Once they’re floating, swap the flame to low and cook them for another two minutes, then remove and toss in some ice water until
you’re ready to serve.
Then besides that, we’ve also got some Laozao, fermented glutinous rice.
Most Asian supermarkets should carry this stuff, but quick warning that sometimes it seems to be labeled under the English name
It’s got a real mellow sweetness to it, which’ll help balance out our lemon.
So, 250 gram bowl of bingfen again.
First mix a teaspoon of sugar into a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and add that to the bingfen.
Next top it off with two tablespoons of laozao, about two to three tablespoons worth of your sticky rice balls, and a couple slices of
And that’s honestly it a pretty easy, super refreshing bowl of lemon bingfen.
So Bingfen has like a million kinds of toppings.
Another favorite of mine is the one that’s smothered in this creamy peanut sauce in addition to this like sticky rice cake, nuts, and fruits.
It’s really good, and the cool thing about Bingfen is that it’s like zero calories, so you can totally just like play around with all the toppings.
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How to make Chinese food Laozao-Fermented Rice? (update 2021)
How to make Syrup Rice Cakes from scratch? update 2021