How to cook thong sui (Chinese dessert)? – Longan & Lotus seeds

These few days, my blogs have gone crazy and this site has experienced a lot of downtime. During those downtime, I had too much free time on hand and had been cooking and baking so much.

There was this one day where I cook a complete meal of nasi lemak, dishes, Chinese thong sui and cakes. I fed my hubby till he surrendered. Hehehe, see? It is bad when I have too much time because I will be cooking so much and stuffing everyone, forcing them to finish up the foods.


Let’s see how to make a fast and simple thong sui. To make good thong sui (in Cantonese it means sugar water or dessert), remember to pair those things according to their cooking time. For example, if you are making red beans soup, don’t add something that cooks fast or else it will turn into mush.

Therefore, I cooked this dried longans with fresh lotus seeds as both cook easily. You can add white fungus or fresh gingko nuts if you wish as they also cook within the same period of time.

The essential flavouring here are the pandan leaves, seen below :


and the sweetness has to come from rock sugar which gives it a slight nicer sweetness. Oh well, I cannot verify that, just that we Chinese have been brought up to think that rock sugar tastes nicer than granulated sugar which we commonly use.

rock sugar

Normally, I soak the dried longan in water to let it puff up first before boil because it will turn out all round and nice.

Now, the trick is to use little water and not dunk them into a whole big pot of water. Put in the main ingredients with the rock sugar and boil till the lotus seeds are flour-y or cooked. Then, add the pandan leaves to boil a while. Don’t start boiling the pandan from the beginning process of cooking because the leaves do taste bitter if overcooked.

Once the pot of dessert is all done, leave it to stand for a while so that the lotus seeds will absorb in the sweetness.

For serving, just scoop some of the cooked ingredients and add boiled water and ice. Mix until you get the right sweetness.

With this method, you get a clear, sweet soup with equally sweet ingredients.

Normally, during Chinese New Year, I will prepare a big pot of overly sweet dessert, kept them in the fridge and serve it to the guests by adding in boiled water just before serving. Until today, none of my sisters-in-law knew about this secret. They normally boil with the big pot of water and hence, all the nuts and dried fruits are tasteless and the soup murky. Hehehe. Now you know…

5 Replies to “How to cook thong sui (Chinese dessert)? – Longan & Lotus seeds”

  1. Tong Sui is always my favourite since young. Still remember when I am young and everyday without fail, my mom will make tong sui for dessert – we are cantonese mah. Now? I am quite lazy to do it lor but ada juga lar…….. So, next time you boil tong sui hor, can sederkah me 1 bowl kah? Please……………

  2. Tong Sui & Soup are Cantonese must have. I wonder why… even me myself a cantonese.
    Anyway, mom said why cook tong sui put rock sugar instead of granulated sugar, reason because is granulated sugar tend to be more ‘angin’ or wind in the stomach, but rock sugar doesn’t.
    Hope that helps!! 🙂

  3. Wow! Will try out your clever idea for a clear longan thong sui.. Every Chinese new year I will boil the dried longan in a pot of water till soft and then add in a type of gelatine to make into a soft longan jelly that is then added with a lot of crushed ice, canned longan and syrup.

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