Sunday, January 31, 2010

I bet you didn't know this about lilies...

The bulbs of lilies can be cooked in a variety of Chinese dishes. Below, you see a sweet soup - more of a broth or what is literally translated as "sugar water". The soup calls for tremella - a loose, flowery, off-white colored type of mushroom - (one of the most potent medicinal mushrooms), and lily bulbs (l. lancifolium, l. brownii, l. pumilum) which contain many health-promoting properties. My mother's recipe below, is a not-too-sweet dessert and alleviates cough, sore throat, and insomnia. I just find it comforting on a cold winter's day.

  • Tremella and Lily Bulb "Tong Shui"

Soak 1/2 cup dried lily bulb (shown in photo above) for about 2 hours until completely softened

Soak about two handfuls of dried tremella for about 1 hour until softened

Drain water from lily bulb. Rinse tremella several times until water is clear. Snip off any tough ends. Add tremella and lily bulb to large pot of water (about 10-12 cups) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Add 1/2 cup or more of brown rock sugar, depending on desired sweetness. I would say most Chinese people do not prefer this dessert soup to be too sweet. Simmer for an additional 25 minutes.

* tremella, dried lily bulb, and brown rock sugar should be available in Asian grocery stores.


  1. I am always afraid I would poison someone by cooking some non edible root or bulb or flower by mistake, so i always steer clear of such things. Sounds good though.

  2. We Asians like to eat tongshui as a herbal dessert to preserve beauty and youthfulness, hoping our complexion will be as porcelain white as the Hong Kong film stars! :P

  3. Hi Wendy~~ [I don't think I've ever read your btw... above. LOL funny, girl!]

    Your soup recipe sounds really interesting and tasty, not to mention healthy. Michael Pollan was on Oprah the other day. I missed nearly all of it except for one comment he made. "People should eat plants." I assume he meant that plants are good for us. I'm sure Mr. Pollan would approve of your soup delicacy.

  4. Wendy, I almost forgot. I wanted to thank you for mentioning the National Novel Writing blog. I've bookmarked it so I can spend more time there. I'm not a fiction person either. It's not that I can't develop scene and characters, but plot and sub-plot, conflict and resolution, whodunit... I'm completely stymied. I'd need to take a class, or ten, perhaps pursue an MFA. I've got a memoir in the works. To me truth is much more entertaining than fiction anyway. So what are your aspirations?

  5. I didn't mention taste. I can't imagine anyone objecting to the taste since the tremella is basically tasteless and the lily bulb is...also nutty. The taste of the dessert soup is basically sweet. The tricky thing for newbies might be the texture.

    Teresa, I would be nervous digging flower bulbs up from the garden to feed people as well. :) CHeck out the links in the post (in gray) and you'll find these ingredients are centuries old. Makes me feel better anyway!

    Grace - I'll go ahead an pre-order any book you may write! I just added the btw. Didn't mention that I'm not interested in tourist information about Louisville Kentucky either. Apparently people want to take the opportunity to attract tourists to the city through my garden blog. Hello spammers!!!???? Does this make any sense?

    Autumn Belle, my parents mention this for complexion too. Anything that helps!

  6. sounds delicious. Tasty and healthy ...

  7. It does have that medicinal character... over here, there is a drink called Lin Chee Kang ... sweet drink that sooth sore throat and warm body.

  8. Wow, I really did'nt know about these properties of bulbous lillies....nice information, even information of the day.

    Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. Believe me your kind and generous appreciation keeps me working on my blog so hardly.

    Have a nice day :)

  9. I had tasted it but not very sure whether what I had eaten is the same one shown here.
    Often these are sold as a medicinal herb drink together with other herbs - it has a warm sweet taste and very enjoyable.

  10. This tong sui sounds good! I will try it one day. Good for complexion too... what a bonus! And I think I would like the taste also.

    I read Bangchik wrote about 'lin chee kang'. Tremella is one of the ingredients in this drink as well.

  11. You are right. No idea. But it looks pretty tasty. Thanks for sharing this unique way to use a lily bulb. I am sure nobody in my house would touch it, they are way too picky.

  12. Hi Again Wendy~~ How strange about the Louisville spammers. Now, maybe if they offered to pay you, say, several thousand dollars, maybe you could give it some thought.

    I forgot to tell you that I appreciated your four year old's sweet comments. Please tell her what a sweetheart she is and that she made my day.

Related Posts with Thumbnails