One of the most well-known Chinese dessert in the Tangsui (糖水) group, Sweet Red Bean Soup, this is perhaps the very first dessert I had in my life… my mum didn’t want me to eat cakes but tangsui is fine in her standard. I would also like the introduce the star ingredient of Red Bean Soup, Chen Pi (dried mandarin peel 陳皮). It has been widely used for hundreds of years in Chinese cooking, not only it has medical benefits of enhancing digestion and reducing phlegm, its subtle fragrance and unique flavour takes the dish up a notch.
I think I would share a few tips that I learned from 4 rounds trial-and-error
- You must soak the Chen Pi first in order to peel the white bits out, otherwise, the white bits cause a major battery taste.
- When you cook the Chen Pi, make sure you put them into a cold water pot, then bring it to boil. Putting them into boil water will cause extra bitterness as well.
- Make sure you cook the red beans WITHOUT sugar. Only add in sugar after the red beans are soft, otherwise, the beans won’t get as soft and as smooth…
- If you have time, you can soak the beans overnight before cooking the Sweet Red Bean Soup.
Sweet Chen Pi Red Bean Soup
- 250 g Dried Red Beans
- 20 g Dried Lotus Seeds
- 20 g Dried Lily Bulbs
- 2 g Dried Mandarin Peels
- 130 g Brown Sugar
- 6 cups Water
- Wash red bean, lotus seeds, lily bulbs and mandarin peels
- Soak mandarin peels into water for 20 minutes
- Put red beans into a pot with a bit of water
- Bring to boil for 10 mins, drain the beans and set aside
- Scrape the white bits out from the mandarin peel (the more white bits you can peel off, the less bitter taste)
- Put lotus seeds and lily bulbs into a pot with some water, bring to boil for 10 mins, drain the ingredients and set aside
- Put 4 cups of water into a pot, add in the mandarin peels, bring to boil for 10 mins, keep the liquid
- Finely chop up the mandarin peels and the sugar
- Add the chopped up mandarin peels, lotus seeds, lily bulbs and red beans into the liquid from step 8
- Bring to boil on high heat, turn to low heat for 45 mins, drain the ingredients, and keep the liquid
- Crush the red beans through a sieve to achieve a gritty texture
- Put the liquid from 12 back into the pot, add in extra 2 cups of water and chopped brown sugar
- Add all ingredients back to the pot when sugar has been fully dissolved, bring to boil on low heat for 30 mins, and ready to serve
Note: this dessert is best served♨️WARM♨️I found crushing the red beans the most difficult, it’s not hard, but takes some time. I didn’t use a blender because it will also blend the outer-skin of the red bean which makes it less smooth🌪🌪🌪 However, my mum prefers the soft bean texture, she doesn’t blend/crush it at all. It really depends on what texture you prefer, after all, you are the chef 👩🏼🍳👨🏼🍳😆😆
Check out our turnip cake if you are looking for more traditional Chinese food.