Although the Chinese don't usually end a meal with a pudding as such, we've gone the laowai (foreigner) route and fashioned some of our sweet favourites from the street and the Chinese snacking repertoire into recipes that we call 'dessert'.


Skill level

Average: 4.1 (20 votes)


  • 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp rosewater, or to taste
  • red food colouring (optional)
  • 2 kg (4 lb 6 oz) seedless watermelon, peeled
  • peanut ice-cream, to serve (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Combine 580 ml (19 fl oz/2⅓ cups) water and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Combine the cornflour with 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) water in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add the cornflour mixture to the simmering syrup, whisking until the mixture simmers and thickens. Remove from the heat, then add the rosewater and enough red food colouring, if using, to tint the mixture pink. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cut the watermelon into neat 1 cm cubes and divide among small bowls. Spoon the rosewater sauce over the watermelon and serve with a scoop of peanut ice-cream, if desired.


Image and recipe extracted from The Real Food of China by Leanne Kitchen & Antony Suvalko, published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $69.95). Available in stores nationally and at the SBS Shop.