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Lemon barley drink

Lemon barley drink

This is an easy, healthy and cooling Chinese herbal drink which is great for combating the tropical heat.


  • 150g holland barley (洋薏米) washed & drained; see cooking note below
  • 100g candied winter melon sugar (冬瓜糖) see cooking note
  • 4 pandan leaves tied to a knot; optional
  • 2 litre water top up whenever needed during simmering
  • lemon juice and lemon slices


  1. Make the drink. In a large soup pot, add all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and keep a small vent opening. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the barley pearls are soft and the water partly cloudy & milky white. Top up more water whenever needed during simmering. If the drink is not sweet enough, you can add more candied winter melon during the last 10 minutes, or stir in a small amount of rock sugar  while the drink is still hot.
  2. Add lemon juice, a few drops at a time and garnish with a slice of lemon. Serve warm or chilled.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. Check out this detailed recipe for the different types of barley & sweetener plus step-by-step photos.
  2. A little lemon juice goes a long way. Add a few drops, to taste, at a time.
  3. If using Chinese barley, simmer for an additional 30-60 minutes until the pearls are softened to liking. Alternatively, pre-soak the barley in a bowl of hot water for 1-2 hours, or keep the barley warm in a thermal pot for another 2 hours.
  4. If using rock sugar, add about70g during the last 5 minutes of cooking. You can also use a mixture of winter melon sugar (added in the beginning) and rock sugar (stirred in after the drink is made).
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37 comments on “Lemon barley drink”

  1. Pingback: Water Chestnut & Bamboo Cane Drink | NoobCook.com

  2. erms can i ask how much lemon juice to add?

    • Just a little will do. A few drops to a tablespoon because pure lemon juice is very sour. Start small and adjust the amount to your liking.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful receipe! Very refreshing.

  4. My mum used to cook this but it was purely barley & candied melon. I tried your recipe and my hubby loves it – the pandan fragrance and the slice of lemon makes him happy! Tks for sharing. :)

    • Hi, I’m glad your hubby likes the addition of pandan and lemon. I went to your blog and there is lots of delicious foods there, thanks for your comment :)

  5. Pingback: Throat Soothing Drinks | Mummy Priscilla

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