I’ve recently read a recipe about Chinese Lemonade on a blog called Jasmine and Ginger that features Chinese barley. I was intrigued by this, I’ve never come across a lemonade recipe with barley. But of course, barley is one of the great foods with lots of benefits for your body including lower cholesterol levels, stable blood sugar levels and providing antioxidants.
Plus I don’t often drink sweet things – at least not store bought ones as they tend to be too sweet and full of sugar. So I decided it’s time to make my own lemonade (especially in these hot and sunny days). I followed the Chinese lemonade recipe on Jasmine and Ginger’s blog but made some changes to it.
Instead of buying the Chinese sugar slabs (I was not sure which ones to get) I bought Traditional & Natural Red Sugar from Taikoo.
It says on the packaging that this is ideal for women, the elderly and weak people. Well, that’s not why I bought it – but I thought an unrefined sugar with a complex taste (Chinese red sugar is often used in traditional Chinese dishes and desserts) would work will my version of the lemonade.
I decided to use 70g of Pearl Barley (as this was the package size I had available), which I washed three times to get rid of the dust, and I put it in the bottom of the pot.
To that I added three lemons, cut in quarters, plus 3 spoons of sugar. I then added 300ml of water and I turned on the heat. As soon as the mixture was cooking, I turned the heat down and left it for 45 minutes on a low heat, so the barley could open up.
After that, I turned off the heat and let the mixture cool down before I strained it. I filled the sweet and sour lemonade into a jug and put it in the fridge. To drink it, I mixed it 1/2 with sparkling water, because it was quite rich in flavour and sour and sweet at the same time. Plus I like my lemonade to be sparkling, so I had to add some fizz to it.
It’s a great little recipe, not difficult to replicate and I like how the red sugar colours my lemonade a darker yellow, light brown. The taste is different from a traditional lemonade, of course, after the barley and red sugar had been added, but it still a nice refreshing flavour and a good Sunday afternoon drink after a hot yoga class and a little run across Discovery Bay.