Aduki Bean Dessert Soup
Aduki beans, or red beans, are often used to make a thick bean paste which you will find as a filling in cakes or buns in China. It can also be used for making sweet soups, a popular dessert in China. There are plenty of varieties including the ‘chan pei’ type which the following recipe is based on. Chan pei soup features mandarin orange peel to add a citrus flavor. This soup also features black glutinous rice to thicken it up. This ingredient also stops the beans and liquid separating so quickly. Add extra mandarin orange peel if you want a stronger citrus taste.
Although the recipe calls for a pressure cooker, it is possible to make this in a large pot instead. Bear in mind the beans will take longer to cook that way, and you will need to use 4 pints of water instead of 3 if you are using a pot. Boil the soup for 10 minutes then let it simmer for about 2 hours or until the beans are very soft. That is the pot method.
Throw in some coconut milk if you want a creamy, rich flavor, or make some sticky rice balls using glutinous rice flour and water made into ball shapes and added to the soup 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time. When they float to the surface they are done. If you do want to add rice balls, use the above pot method, not the following pressure cooker method.
- 1 cup aduki beans
- 3 pints water, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup black glutinous rice (optional)
- Few strips (about ⅓ oz) dried mandarin orange peel
- White sugar, to taste
- Put the rice and beans in a pot and add enough water to cover.
- Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain and discard the soaking water.
- Put the rice and beans in a pressure cooker and add 3 pints of water.
- Break the dried mandarin orange peel into pieces and add those to the pot.
- Pressure cook for about 45 minutes or until the beans are very soft.
- Add a few lumps of rock sugar or a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar to the pot.
- Simmer without the lid until the sugar dissolves.
- Taste the soup and add more sugar if necessary.
- If you want it smooth, you can blend the soup with a hand blender at this point.
- Serve hot or chilled, as you prefer.
This soup is well-known in China but not so much in the West. You can buy the ingredients from any Asian food store. Make extra soup if you like, then use it to fill an ice tray or popsicle molds. You can then serve it as a frozen dessert. The photo shows you what the finished soup will look like. Aduki beans are sometimes very dark in color, so your soup might be darker. Feel free to adjust the amount of citrus peel and sugar, depending how citrusy and sweet you want the finished dessert soup to be.
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