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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dessert soup: orange and lychee in ginger syrup

Som Loy Gaew

This is my recipe for the cold dessert soup, Loy Gaew, that I made for the garden lunch last week.

The name Loy Gaew literally means floating crystals (or gems), referring to the crushed ice floating in clear syrup. Loy Gaew is a very common way of serving fresh tropical fruits as a dessert course in Thailand. Just about any fruit could be cut up and added to sweet and ever-so-slightly salty syrup with a lot of ice. Prepare the Loy Gaew an hour or two before serve since mixture can use a bit of macerating time in the fridge before service.

Loy Gaew
Cold orange and lychee soup in ginger syrup

Serves 8

3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 5-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup tightly packed shredded fresh (or frozen and defrosted) coconut
6 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
(You can use a mix of oranges and kamquats or any other citrus.)
2 1/2 cups peeled and seeded fresh lychees, or 2 20-ounce cans lychees, drained
Handful of chopped mint (optional)
3 cups crushed ice

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, ginger and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. In a skillet (or wok) over medium-low heat, toast the coconut, tossing until evenly toasted. Spread on a plate to cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oranges and lychees. Remove and discard the ginger from the syrup and pour the syrup over the fruit. Mix in the mint and chill.

4. To serve, spoon the fruit mixture into 8 small bowls. Add about 2 tablespoons crushed ice to each bowl and top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

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