Walnut Drink
14th March 2014

Walnut Drink

By Lauren Photography by Kurt

In January I made my second trip up to Qingdao in China’s Shandong province. It was a short trip but we packed in plenty of good food!  Over the course of the week, our gracious hosts took us to a variety of restaurants around the city, ordering up plate upon plate of local dishes.  I had amazing tofu, lots of delicious seafood and zingy, garlicky vegetable dishes.  I have to admit though, I did miss having a glass of wine with dinner.  I gave the local beer (Tsingtao Beer) a go which was great, but I’m not really a beer girl, so our hosts ordered a variety of juices for us to share.  They were all served warm, which was a bit of a revelation for me (I have microwaved the odd glass of orange juice since returning!).  Of all the flavours, the walnut ‘juice’ was the hot favourite.

Think of this as a sweet, nutty, slightly textural smoothie.  Served warm as autumn starts to bring a crisp tinge to the evening air, this is hearty, nourishing and well, to a Western palate a little odd (in a good way!).  You can sieve the drink if you don’t fancy having ‘bits’ in it, but we really enjoyed the texture of un-sieved drink.


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  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 (400ml) can coconut milk
  • 150g palm sugar, grated
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups water


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  • 1. Blanch walnuts for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain well and spread out on an oven tray. Leave to dry while you preheat oven to 180°C.
  • 2. Roast walnuts for 15 minutes, until coloured and fragrant. Leave to cool.
  • 3. In a medium-sized saucepan, gently heat coconut milk, palm sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  • 4. Process walnuts and water until smooth.
  • 5. Add walnut puree to coconut milk mixture, stir and heat through.
  • Serve hot.

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