September 8, 2013

Red Bean Dessert Soup 紅豆沙

Red Bean Desert Soup 紅豆沙

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe
By Published: 2013-09-08
In case you are wondering, this is not really Chinese Red Bean Soup.  This is a Chinese Red Bean Soup toy which I got for 5 HKD out of a bubble toy machine. (More here about bubble toy machines from which you can get cool food toys!)  Looks pretty delicious for plastic, eh?  I thought so too, and so got inspired to make the real Red Bean Dessert Soup, a classic traditional chinese dessert.  This little bowl of sweet yumminess after a full chinese dinner will hit the sweet spot and round off a pleasant meal.  Red Bean Soup , or 紅豆沙, is easy to make at home and as usual, homemade is way better than the ones you can taste in restaurants and dessert shops.

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe

First of all get yourself some red beans, also known as adzuki beans.  It's a good idea to get this kind of stuff from a trusted vendor at the wet markets in Hong Kong.  They will usually have superior quality stuff which is reassuring as all beans look the same to me.  The wet market vendor I go to is a super grouchy old guy with bushy white eyebrows who growls me whenever I ask a question but his merchandise is pretty good.  I guess that's why he growls?

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe

Wait for a day when you're staying at home because, though this is a simple easy recipe, it does take a while to cook down the red beans properly.  Sometimes cooks will shorten the cooking time by scooping out half the beans when soft, processing them in blender, and then put the processed beans back in the soup to create the creamy bean slurry required for proper red bean soup dessert.  While this saves time I am convinced that it sacrifices the true lusciousness and creamy texture of a red bean soup that has gone through a really long slow cook.  It's really fun to make this soup in the winter cause you're all warm as a bug while cooking and while slowly slurping your delicious bowl of Red Bean Soup.

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe

Be sure to soak the red beans properly and then discard the soaking water.  This will solve the problem of any, um, "extra air" after consumption of the beans.  The traditional red bean dessert recipe also calls for dried tangerine peel , or Chenpi 陳皮, which you can also get at your local wet market.  Sometimes you can see these tangerine peels hung in long festive coils from the ceilings of the dried goods shops as they air dry.  These Chenpi are used for many chinese dishes.  They have an distinctive woodsy citrusy flavor that improves with age.  Actually the aged tangerine peels can get very expensive!

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe chenpi tangerine peel mandarin

chinese red bean soup dessert recipe chenpi tangerine peel mandarin

Red Bean Dessert Soup Recipe 红豆水
(Makes a nice potful to share with family and friends)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup red bean
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
1/2 cup chinese rock sugar (or raw sugar)

Directions:

Soak the red beans in cold water for 1 1/2 hour.  Discard all soaking water, put beans in large pot and add fresh water to 2 inches above the beans.  After water boils turn to heat down to medium low, throw in the dried tangerine peels, and cook for approximately 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Be sure to top up the water as needed.  When the red beans are mostly broken down and the soup is thick with dissolved red bean, add the sugar to taste.  (Don't add the sugar before this point otherwise your beans won't soften properly!)  Once the sugar is dissolved let the soup cook down to the consistency that you like to have for your red bean soup.  Some like it thicker and some like it thinner. Serve hot.

Tip:  For an alternative treat just as tasty, try our Grean Bean Dessert Soup, delightfully cooling for the summer months!

More Sweet Chinese Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:

 Chinese Candied Ginger 薑糖Chinese Candied Ginger 薑糖

almond bean curdAlmond Bean Curd - An Easy and Elegant Chinese Dessert

hong kong black sesame ice creamBlack Sesame Ice Cream 黑芝麻冰淇淋
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26 comments:

  1. ooh i love the sound of this!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your recipe! does it have to be a dried tangerine peel? I only have a fresh orange peel. Does it really make that much of a difference?

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    1. Hi King,

      Dried tangerine peel has it's own unique taste but if you can't get any I would suggest either making the red bean dessert without it altogether, or perhaps grating a bit of fresh orange peel in during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Let us know what you decide to do! ~ellen

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  3. I remember eating this in my youth! However dried chinese yams were added to it. Yummy!

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    1. Oh, yeah, I've had that too but had forgotten all about it. We'll have to try that next time! ~ellen

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  4. I had these as a kid, and my folks added dried Chinese yams. YUMMY!

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  5. Thank you for posting this recipe! It brought back fond memories. I made some a few days ago and made some freezer "pops" for my kids and they just loved it! Not sure about the yams though.

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    1. Your welcome! My grandma used to make red bean pops for us - they are so yummy. We'll have to make some soon! ~ellen

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  6. Hi Ellen
    I was at the Asian market the other day and happen to come upon some canned red azuki bean desert. I was hesitant to buy it even though it take less time than to actually cook it myself. My question to you is have you tried the canned red bean desert and if so what is your opinion on it?

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    1. Humm...can't say that I've tried it but heck, why not?! It might be pretty good, and cooking red bean dessert soup does take a while. But I think in general that if you make food at home it will almost always taste better than canned, even if simply due to the fact of it being fresh and not having preservatives in it. If you do try the canned stuff let us know how it goes! ~ellen

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    2. I've tried the canned red bean soup before and I thought it was pretty good but making it at home tastes a lot better and fresher. I've never tried it with the tangerine peel before but it sounds like it would taste good.

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    3. Adding tangerine peel is really yummy! You have to try it if you can! ~ellen

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  7. I'm curious, would this work as well with sweetener instead of sugar? Thanks for the recipe, I loved this when I visited China!

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    1. It wouldn't taste the same and rock sugar gives the soup a gloss that other sugars won't, but if you really want to try sweetener I would suggest stevia as that is really the only 'natural' sweetener available. ~ellen

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  8. Your red bean soup looks so yummy! And i think your advice on not adding sugar before the red bean soften is really true! I have been cooking my red bean soup the whole evening and it somehow won't really soften properly... That's how i got here googling on red bean soup. I put the sugar with the red bean soup right in the beginning. Maybe that's why it's not soft the way i like it. I'm gonna try again next time with your recipe. :)

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    1. Hi Happy Place Singapore - Glad we could help! Hope it turns out right next time. ~ellen

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  9. Hi Ellen. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I wanted to ask how do you measure your rock sugar since they come in different size pieces with some being very large. Do you useless crush it in to smaller pieces about quarter size or how do you do it? Thank you.

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    1. Hi Liz - I would either do it quite unscientifically by eye or measure it by weight of the rocks where 1/2 cup = approx 125g. Hope that helps. I'll put that in the recipe. Of course do taste test and adjust the sweetness to your preference! ~ellen

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    2. Thank you Ellen. This was very helpful and delicious!

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  10. The picture on top looks like red dates in the soup.

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  11. Hi Ellen, thanks for sharing. I cook my red bean and include tangyuan (small round glutinous ball) in it. My girls love this. thanks

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    1. Hi Eagle - you're very welcome and thanks for mentioning the tiny tangyuans...yumm...I haven't had it like that in a long time! Must remember to add in next time! ~ellen

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  12. If u cook red bean soup in pressure cooker, it takes 20 minutes to get rich yummy taste. Try it!

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    1. Wonderful tip! Thanks Julia, I will have to try it! ~ellen

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  13. Ellen, I love your postings and your tip helped! You Really are an excellent cook and a foodie with a good taste.

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    1. Thanks for the thumbs up Twif F and glad that the tip helped! ~ellen

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