Malva nut is a unique ingredient indigenous to Laos and parts of SE Asia. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. This Malva nut juice recipe is infused with pandan, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, and sweetened with a little brown sugar.
In this article, I'll explain everything you need to know about preparing Malva nuts and how to make a juice with Malva nuts.
- Introduction to Malva Nut
- History of Malva Nuts
- Malva Nuts in Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Malva Nuts in Ayurveda
- Nutritional Study of Malva Nuts
- Culinary Applications
- How to Process Malva Nuts To Use In Recipes
- Malva Nut Juice Recipe
- Instructions - step by step
- More Healthy Drink Recipes
Introduction to Malva Nut
I love discovering new ingredients. It's like a chef's playground here in Phuket. Every time I go to the local market I discover a new ingredient. Malva nut was one of my recent discoveries. Locally, it's added to black tea jelly and also used in some traditional Thai desserts.
When Malva nut is soaked in water, it swells up to 8 times its size and turns into a spongy gelatine-like fruit. I've never seen this texture in any other food.
I bought myself a few bags of Malva nuts and started doing lots of research. Luckily, my partner Thara has a friend who spent most of her childhood making Malva nut Juice as a family business. So we connected to get some ideas on how to process this fascinating nut!
History of Malva Nuts
Other names for Malva nut:
- Pang Da Hai (which, literally means “fat sea”) in Chinese.
- Kembang Semangkuk in Malay
- Samraon in Khmer
- Naranjan Phal in Marathi
- Hat Duoi Uoi in Vietnam
- Nirinjan Phal or Umasmango in Hindu
- Taiwanese Sweet Gum
Malva nuts are mainly produced in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. It's usually collected from April to June when the fruits become ripe and cracked. The seeds are dried in the sun.
It's collected as a major non-timber forest product in Laos, and that is the country’s second export crop after coffee.
The flesh surrounding the dried seeds swells to eight times its original volume when soaked in water, forming an irregularly shaped, reddish gelatinous mass. After being soaked and the seed kernel removed, the flesh is mixed with sugar, ice, soaked basil seeds, and drunk as a cooling drink in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. They are also used, along with other ingredients; in sweet, cool soups similar to the Chinese Tong Sui.
Malva Nuts in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Malva is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a coolant and it is also used for gastrointestinal disorders and for soothing the throat.
According to Chinese medicine, the use of Malva Nut (sterculia lychnophora) is to:
- Remove heat from the lung
- To cure sore throat
- Counteract toxicity
- Relax the bowels.
Consume Malva nut by adding one or two nuts to a large cup of boiling water and consume the liquid. Typically, in traditional Chinese medicine, Malva nut would be part of a larger formula of herbs designed to address a person's condition.
Although it possesses medicinal properties, care must be taken with its consumption. Avoid boiling more than 3 seeds per drink. Over-consumption symptoms include white watery phlegm, nausea, coughing, and swollen tongue. People with frequent digestion problems and abdominal pain or diarrhea should avoid it entirely.
Malva Nuts in Ayurveda
In Ayurvedic medicine, Malva nut is known as Nirinjan Phal or Umasmango. It is extremely beneficial in cooling down the body.
The health benefits of Malva nut in relation to Ayurveda:
As it cools down the body it is recommended for:
- Sore throats
- Throat infestions
- Irregular bowl movements
- Headachs due to internal heat
- Insomnia and sleep disorders due to internal heat
Cleansing and detoxifying
As a detoxifying agent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant:
- Skin disease
- For cleansing the urinary organs to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI)
- For removing toxins in the body due to irregular bowl movements
- Removing water retention in the body
- It relieves heartburn
- It relieve constipation
- To relieve arthritus (excessive water between joints)
Nutritional Study of Malva Nuts
Malva nut can be used in teas, iced drinks, and desserts.
In China, Malva nut is used in tea as well by mixing with other ingredients such as sugar candy, red date, haw, licorice, chrysanthemum flower, lilyturf root, and jasmine tea. The advantage of such tea is supposed to reduce the “hotness” of the body and nurture the body
How to Process Malva Nuts To Use In Recipes
'Before & After' Now, I will show you how to process Malva nuts from start to finish.
Dried Malva nuts ready to soak
Soak in plenty of filtered water overnight. They will swell up to 8 times their original size!
Top up with extra water if they are swelling like this.
Ideally, soak overnight in a container in the fridge. This is what they will look like when they are ready.
It's amazing how they transform!
Now, it's time to take the hard seed out, and there will be some bits of tough skin you can remove also.
Discard the seeds and tough outer skin.
Put the remaining Malva 'jelly' into a muslin cloth over a bowl and squeeze.
It's a bit messy, but it's worth it. With clean hands squeeze the pulp through the muslin cloth.
The result is a nice fine Malva nut pulp that can be added to drinks.
And here is the end result from processing the Malva nuts. It's like a dark brown jelly.
Malva Nut Juice Recipe
Now that you have the Malva pulp, I will show you how to make a nice juice recipe.
No fancy equipment is needed. You will require a strainer, a saucepan with a lid, and a jug to store the finished juice in.
- Malva nut pulp
- Pandan leaf
- Brown sugar
Instructions - step by step
Assemble all your ingredients
Add water to the saucepan
Add the pandan, ginger, licorice, and cinnamon.
Simmer for 10 minutes to infuse.
Take out the herbs and add the brown sugar.
Whisk to dissolve the sugar, then add the Malva pulp.
Bring back to a simmer and turn the heat off. The Malva does not need any cooking out.
Allow to cool, then serve with ice.
This is a variation of a classic Thai Malva nut juice recipe. The traditional recipe calls for Malva, brown sugar, and pandan. I added licorice, cinnamon and ginger for some extra background flavors and nutrition. You can play around with some different herbs and spice combinations.
More Healthy Drink Recipes
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I'm very happy to share it with you. If you do make this recipe please let me know in the comments below what you think. I love seeing your recreations. You may tag me on Instagram #holisticchefacademy and join me on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram for more healthy recipes and videos.
Good health wishes my friends.
Malva Nut Juice
- Weighing scales
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Serving glass
To make the Malva pulp
- 100 g Malva nuts
- 2000 ml Water - filtered
To make the Mlava juice
- 2000 ml Water - filtered
- 150 g Brown sugar
- 2 each Pandan leaf
- 10 g Ginger root sliced
- 1 each Licorice root sliced
- ½ each Cinnamon stick broken
- 600 g Malva nut pulp
To make the malva pulp
- Soak Malva nuts in plenty of filtered water overnight. They will swell up to X8 times their original size!2000 ml Water - filtered
- Sit the soaked Malva nuts over a strainer.
- Discard the seeds and tough outer skin.
- Put the remaining Malva 'jelly' into a muslin cloth over a bowl and squeeze.
- With clean hands squeeze the pulp through the muslin cloth.
- The result is a nice fine Malve nut pulp that can be added to drinks.
- Proceed to next step to make the juice.
To make the Malva juice
- Assemble all your ingredients.
- Add water to the saucepan.2000 ml Water - filtered
- Add the pandan, ginger, licorice, and cinnamon.2 each Pandan, 10 g Ginger root, 1 each Licorice root, ½ each Cinnamon stick
- Simmer for 10 minutes to infuse.
- Take out the herbs and add the brown sugar.150 g Brown sugar
- Whisk to dissolve the sugar and then add the Malva pulp.600 g Malva nut pulp
- Allow the cool and then serve over ice.
This juice will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It is best to soak overnight, so for at least 6-8 hours. Ideally, 24 hours is a good time. Make sure to keep it in the fridge as they are soaking.
You should be able to source online, depending on which part of the world you are in.