Malaysian Monday 34: Red Bean Soup

Monday, May 3, 2010

A very simple Malaysian Monday today, but something we ate often as kids. Sometimes mum would make this Red Bean Soup and sometimes she’d buy it from the market stalls. One of my favourite breakfasts/brunches was a plate a fried meehoon (thin rice noodles), served alongside a bowl of this sweet soup.

 Ah yes, did I mention that this is a sweet soup? It’s very versatile and can be served hot or cold, usually for dessert but also as a snack.

The method and recipe is really, really simple. Basically you boil some red beans (azuki beans) until tender, then add enough sugar to sweeten towards the end of the boiling. Some folks use rock sugar, in which case, the sugar needs to be added during the boiling process so it can dissolve.

A thin strip of dried mandarin peel is usually added for flavour. You can easily make this yourself by air-drying some mandarin peel. I didn’t plan ahead so just used a strip of fresh peel instead. It works fine but the peel begins to disintegrate halfway through the boiling process, so do remember to fish it out earlier.

It also helps to presoak the beans but failing that, pour some boiling water over them and leave to stand for about half an hour before boiling (pour off the soaking water and use cold water for boiling).

Being the polite person that I am, I offered this soup to the family, especially the visiting grandparents. Sadly, like the sardine sandwiches a couple of weeks ago, there were no other takers. Poor Pop Hand looked extremely conflicted when I made the offer, he didn’t want to appear rude by refusing but he obviously wasn’t very keen to taste it! I let him off the hook ☺

Red Bean Soup
(rough guide)
½ cup dried red/ azuki beans (soaked for a few hours if possible – helps reduce cooking time)
approx 6 cups cold water (more to top up if needed)
sugar to taste (I used approx ¼ cup)
strip of dried mandarin peel for flavour (optional)

Place red/ azuki beans and peel (if using) in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Leave to boil gently until the beans are soft and tender. Top up water if needed and skim any scum from surface. When beans are ready, stir in the sugar until dissolved then turn off the heat. Fish out the peel. Serve warm or cold.

Have a great start to the week.


3 hungry tummies said...

I sometimes add some pandan leaves during the boiling process and serve it with some coconut milk too :) They don't know what they are missing, let's cook our "spooky food" together when you come over for dinner :)

grace said...

oooh, i'll bet the simple little addition of the mandarin peel adds quite a bit of complexity! i don't typically have beans or soup for breakfast, but i wouldn't mind it a bit!

Barbara said...

I've never tried something like this, Shaz. Not certain I will like sweet with the beans, but certainly am willing to try it. A lovely simple recipe too!

shaz said...

Ha ha 3 hungry tummies - yes, spooky food all the way! Mmm, pandan and coconut milk, brilliant additions.

grace - and that's why I like you grace, your willingness to go there :)

kirbie said...

I love red bean soup! I like it even more with glutinous/sticky rice balls.

Jamie said...

Very intriguing! A sweet bean soup? I have heard of this but have never tried it! I think I probably would if you handed me a bowl of yours.

foodwink said...

Love red bean soup, especially with mandarin peel. I could do with a bowl of this right now.

shaz said...

barbara - another brave taker :)

kirbie - ooh, sticky rice balls souns like a brilliant addition

Jamie - just say the word

foodwink - it's pretty useful to warm up with during the cold days