One of the most refreshing, thirst-quenching beverages, this Che Sam Bo Luong recipe is sure to cool you down on a hot summer day. You can also enjoy this Vietnamese herbal drink warm in the winter months as a light dessert.
A tall glass of Chè Sâm Bổ Lượng (Vietnamese Herbal Dessert Drink) is best enjoyed on a scorching hot day or after a hot savory bowl of pho. This light, refreshing dessert drink is the perfect way to top off a heavy meal or to simply quench your thirst when all else fails.
This Sam Bo Luong recipe features many nourishing ingredients such as seaweed, red dates (jujubes), goji berries, barley, longan and snow fungus, all of which are common in traditional Chinese/Vietnamese medicine and aim to cool the body. Each ingredient adds a unique flavor to the dessert and is perfectly balanced with a lightly sweetened soup.
So wait...a delicious, refreshing, cooling, thirst-quenching herbal dessert drink that happens to have health benefits too?! Sign me up!
Prepare Ingredients for Sam Bo Luong
Before making Sam Bo Luong, everything needs to be prepped ahead of time The ingredients are dried and shelf stable, so they need to be reconstituted before cooking.
Fortunately, this part is as simple as soaking in hot water for 30 minutes. After soaking, the rehydrated ingredients will look like the photo below. Strain and rinse each ingredient after soaking with the exception of the longan. Keep the longan in the liquid it's been soaking in. It has natural fruity sweetness that we'll be adding to the dessert.
This Sam Bo Luong recipe is quite easy to tailor to your taste. You can add more or less of each ingredient. It's also easy to omit ingredients you don't like or are difficult to find. On the flip side, other ingredients can be added as well. Some other common ingredients include lotus seeds, lily bulb, and gingko nuts.
The sugar used in Sam Bo Luong is flexible as well. I use rock sugar in this recipe but any sugar with a more complex flavor profile can be used. Palm sugar or brown sugar work just as well.
How to Make Sam Bo Luong
In separate bowls, soak the dried ingredients in hot water for 30 minutes. Strain and rinse everything except for the longan. Be sure to reserve the soaking liquid. Rinse the seaweed strips until it no longer feels slimy and cut into 2-3 inch lengths. Trim the hard stem off the snow fungus and discard it. Then hand tear the snow fungus into bite-sized pieces. Once all the ingredients are prepped, we are ready to cook.
1) In a small stockpot, boil the pearl barley separately for 30 minutes. Strain and rinse then set aside.
2) In a medium-sized stockpot, simmer the red dates in 6 cups of water for 10 minutes.
3) Add the longan along with its soaking liquid and simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Add goji berries and the previously cooked barley and rock sugar to taste.
5) Add snow fungus and seaweed and simmer for 5 minutes.
6) Allow the Sam Bo Luong to cool to room temperature and store in the fridge.
- 3 tbsp (1 oz/30g) dried pearl barley
- ½ cup (2oz/55g) dried longan, reserve soaking liquid
- ¼ cup (1 oz/25g) dried red dates/jujubes
- 3 tbsp (0.5 oz/15g) dried goji berries
- ½ dried snow (white) fungus
- ½ oz (15g) dried seaweed (kelp) strips
- ½ cup (4 oz/115g) rock sugar, or to taste
- 6 cups water
- In separate bowls, soak each dried ingredient in hot water for 30 minutes. Strain then rinse all ingredients except for the longan. Reserve the soaking liquid for the longan.
- Rinse the seaweed thoroughly until it no longer feels slimy. Cut down into 2-3 inch lengths.
- Trim and discard the hard stem of the snow fungus. Hand tear into bite-sized pieces.
- In a small stockpot, simmer the pearl barley for 30 minutes or until tender. Strain then rinse until the water runs clear.
- In the meantime, in a separate medium-sized stockpot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and simmer the dates for 10 minutes.
- Add the longan along with its soaking liquid and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add goji berries and the previously cooked pearl barley. Add rock sugar to taste.
- Add snow fungus and seaweed. Simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Allow the Sam Bo Luong to cool completely to room temperature then refrigerate. Serve chilled with ice cubes or crushed ice.