July 25, 2014

Green Bean Dessert Soup 綠豆沙

Green Bean, mung bean, chinese, Dessert, Soup, recipe,  綠豆沙, 綠豆, 沙, cooling, cool
By Published: 2014-07-25
There is almost nothing so soothing and cooling to drink on a hot, hot summer's day than Chinese Green Bean Dessert Soup.  My grandma used to make big pots of this wonderful soup for us, store it in the fridge and we would help ourselves to big delicious bowls to cool ourselves off after a hot day of play.  So just as this really hot summer typhoon weather has settled in on us in Hong Kong, I suddenly remembered, (duh! strikes forehead),  the perfect thing to rustle up for taking the edge off this heat is this wonderfully body cooling Green Bean Dessert Soup, or 綠豆沙 or 綠豆湯.

Green Bean, mung bean, chinese, Dessert, Soup, recipe,  綠豆沙, 綠豆, 沙, cooling, cool

Who would have known that this humble little green bean , or 綠豆, could be so delicious?!  It's true of most beans, I think, they always look like nothing special but when you cook them up they transform into the most yummilicious foods that are not only good to eat but usually really good for you too.  This green bean, or mung bean as they are better know in the West, is considered 'cooling' according to the Chinese concepts of Food Therapy.  Let's see, the green bean cools internal heat, clears away toxins, soothes heat related problems like heat rash, etc.  And it works, I swear it, you feel so much better and soothed on a hot day after drinking a bowl of this wonderful yummy and nutirtionally therapeutic Green Bean Dessert soup.

Green Bean, mung bean, chinese, Dessert, Soup, recipe,  綠豆沙, 綠豆, 沙, cooling, cool

In Hong Kong this Green Bean Dessert Soup is often made with a bit of seaweed but I like it the way my Grandma made it, just beans, water and rock sugar.  Yum, yum!  So easy to make and so pleasing for all, especially the kids.  (My little girl loves it!)  You can serve Green Bean Dessert Soup up hot or, my favorite way, cold straight from the fridge.  Ahhhh!  All my hot weather grumpies cleared away!
Tip:  A great classic Chinese treat for the kids is to use a bit of this dessert soup to make Green Bean Popsicles!  (Just ask any Chinese kid.)  Wow, really super yummy and a healthy too!  

Tip: Must use rock sugar or raw sugar or something similarly unprocessed to get the right taste!

Green Bean Dessert Soup Recipe  綠豆沙
(Makes a nice potful to share, approx 1 1/2 liter)  (Bean soaking time: 4 hours  Cook time: 40 mins)


1 cup green beans (200g, also known as mung beans)
8 cups water
1/2 cup rock sugar or raw sugar (115g)


Rinse the green beans.  Check over for any little rocks and remove.  Soak in cool water for 4 hours.  Discard soaking water.  

In a large pot add the water and green beans.  When the water boils turn down the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 30-40 mins or til the beans are soft.  Be sure to keep a eye on the pot cuz the beans will have a tendency to boil over quickly.  

The soup is ready when the green beans have bloomed, or started breaking down.  There are two preferences here, one is a thicker soup with lots of dissolved bean and one is a thinner more liquidy soup.  For a thicker soup cook a bit longer.  For a thinner soup (my preference) the soup is ready as soon as the beans are soft and very squishable.

When you feel the soup is ready, add the sugar to taste and stir until sugar is melted.  Serve hot or cold.    

More Chinese Desserts at The Hong Kong Cookery:


  1. Interesting.. Is this similar in taste as the red bean desert soup? We used to eat the canned grass jelly desert as a "cool summer " treat, but no matter how much sugar I add to the cubed grass jelly, it is still "bland" and all I am left with is sugary syrup. I guess it is an acquired taste.

    1. Similar yet different. But both are yummy. Red Bean is 'heating' and green bean is 'cooling'. The Grass Jelly you mention, I've had it too and it was never a favorite of mine, tho I have friends who love the stuff. ~ellen

  2. When I was a kid in Florida, I remember old people, like my greeat-grandmother and great uncle always had a small (3x5) patch of sugar cane out back. They would use it for things like this. Simply cut a section of stalk, chop off the bamboo like exterior, split into 3 or 4 strips and drop into the boiling water. You boil cane to make sugar anyway and simply remove the stalks when it's cooling. This process also works for making Southern Ice Tea.

    1. Hey Clif B. - that is such a cool story! I just love to hear stories like this that tell it the way people used to do to make delicious food before all the modern conveniences. I am going to try your method next time. Thanks for sharing! ~ellen

  3. I tried this for the first time today. It was in a Chinese BBQ restaurant in Sydney. Very refreshing and wholesome. I will try your recipe and share with family :)Thank you !

    1. Your welcome, I'm so glad that you liked this lovely dessert soup. Let us know how it comes out when you make it! ~ellen


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...