Cheng Teng Dessert Recipe

By Janness Koh

The weather has been ridiculously hot recently and it made me crave Cheng Teng so I decided to cook it. Cheng Teng is one of my favourite local dessert and is great to have during hot weather or any day really to combat body heat. It’s not difficult to cook but has a lot of steps that can be tedious. On occasions when I’m too lazy to cook it and bought from stores, I’m often disappointed because of how much fragrance essence is used, urgh!Cheng Teng Dessert Recipe
Ingredient portions can be adjusted according to your liking, I love gingko nuts but it is said that too much can be poisonous so take note to not over costume. Most of them can be bought at any Chinese medicine store. I bought my ingredients from ZTP.

Health benefits of the ingredients (according to the net):

  • Pang da hai (Malva nut/Sterculia seed) – Soothes throat, good for coughs, and cools down body
  • Gingko nut – Lowers cholesterol, relieves asthma and cough, anti-aging, may help improve memory, prevents cancer
  • Lotus seed – Rich source of phosphorus, protein, potassium and magnesium, anti-aging, astringent properties beneficial to the kidney
  • Barley – Lowers cholesterol, high in fiber, prevents gallstones, detox and improves UTI

Serving Size: 5 and above
Prep time: 70 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

150g lotus seeds
300g gingko nuts
15 or more pang da hai
150g large sago pearls
150g barley
100g dried longan meat
2-3L water – depending how much soup you like
rock sugar/sugar – according to your liking
5 candied winter melon
few pandan leaves
agar agar strips (optional)

I prefer to prepare the ingredients one day in advance as my dad thinks that the sago pearls taste better after its cooked and sit in the fridge for a day.


  • Soak the pang da hai for at least an hour or more or as long as its fully ballooned
  • Crack the shells of the gingko nuts, don’t be in a rush to remove the skin as it peels off by itself when boiled and for those that don’t, it is easier to peel offCheng Teng Dessert in Singapore
  • Boil the Ginkgo Nuts and lotus seeds separately. When its cooked, split them in the middle and remove the “heart”, if not it will taste very bitter. Lotus seed heart is green while Ginkgo’s is pale light yellowCheng Teng Dessert
  • Boil the sago pearls till they become translucent, this can take some time and remember to keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn
  • Once the pang da hai is fully soaked, grab a handful on your palm, remove the seed and use your finger to pick out the coarse pieces and small vein like dregs, keeping only the fine jelly like parts. This is the most tedious step, try to clean up as much as you canMaking Cheng Teng Dessert
  • Boil the water with barley, rock sugar and pandan leaves till barley is cooked
  • Add all ingredients and let it boil for awhile to incorporate all the flavour

Note: If you choose to use the optional agar agar strips, they need to be added in last after heat is turned off so it won’t melt.  If not the whole dessert will become jelly. 

Serve hot or cold, keep unfinished dessert in the fridge and it can last for another 2-3 days

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