Food was not a concern during childhood even though we were poor. My mum was able to cook nutritious and delicious food with minimal ingredients. Savory and sweet soup were frequently served which she believed to be beneficial to health in the long run. She often stressed that as long as food was cooked with love and care, even though however simple and cheap the ingredients were, the food will turn out delicious.
When I got married and had children I make sure that my family is well fed. During hot weather sweet soups and herbal tea are served and well-boiled soup for dinner every night.
Cheng Teng is one of favourites. Soak the following ingredients : white fungus, lotus seeds and sterulia seeds (pang dai hai). Boil large sago pearls in boiling water till opaque. Rinse over cold water till not starchy. Put aside.
Soak sterulia seeds in water till expanded. Discard skin.
Ingredients - clockwise : sterulia seeds, white fungus, barley, gingko nuts, agar-agar strips, dried sweet potatoes, dried winter-melon, dried longan and large sago pearls. Unable to get dried persimmon, best to include.
Boil sweet potatoes for only 10 mins, too long will turn soft and mushy. Only add agar-agar strips when soup is luke warm otherwise will melt.