This is an easy and refreshing recipe for Chinese-style red bean soup (红豆汤). Where yin and yang of foods go, green bean soup is “yin” (cooling) while red bean soup is “yang” (warming), so the latter is perfect for the cooler rainy December days we have now. I personally cook green bean soup more frequently to combat the heat, but somehow, my family and I agree that red bean soup tastes subtly better, maybe a more robust bean flavour. As far as Chinese desserts go, this is really easy to cook and I often keep the leftovers in the fridge overnight to enjoy the dessert chilled the next day.
Where yin and yang of foods go, green bean soup is "yin" (cooling) while red bean soup is "yang" (warming), so this is perfect for the cooler rainy days. If you do not wish to add any sago to your red bean soup, skip step 1.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:60 mins
100 grams red beans (may also use Japanese azuki beans) soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
2 pandan (screw pine) leaves dried ends cut, tied in a knot
80 grams canned or vacuum-packed lotus seeds or ginkgo nuts optional
50 grams (1/3 cup) small sago (small tapioca pearls)
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add sago and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the stove, cover the pot with lid and let the sago continue to cook on its own for another 10 minutes, until all the sago turns translucent. Run the cooked sago through a fine sieve and running water to remove excess starch. Set aside. Check out this step-by-step photo tutorial for preparing sago.
In a bigger soup pot, add red beans, 1.7 litres water, dried orange peel and pandan leaves. Bring to a boil.
Add lotus seeds/gingko nuts and reduce heat to a simmer, partially covered, for about 50 minutes (or until the beans are soft), stirring the sides and bottom of the pot occasionally. Top up with hot water at any time if necessary.
Stir in rock sugar (to taste) until the sugar is dissolved. Discard orange peel slices and pandan leaves. Add the cooked sago prepared in step 1 to the red bean soup. Serve warmed or chilled.