Food Recipe

Don’t Ask My Mom For A Recipe! (The Sweet Red Bean Soup Dessert)


This is a post from my previous blog from 2/25/13…I’m reposting it so I’ll have the recipe on here.

My mom is like one of the best cooks I know. She makes really complicated things and they come out tasting really good. And once she gets a new idea, she’ll make that dish over and over again until she perfects it. Which is great but sucks for my dad because he’ll have to eat it like 4 times a row in one week.

The Conversation

So the other day I asked her for her sweet red bean soup dessert. You will get this soup dessert usually at the end of dinner when you are at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Notice that I say “authentic” which means not your local Super Wong Wok restaurant at the corner. I just made that name up so don’t take offense. Here is how the conversation went while we were eating lunch the other day:

Me: Mom how do you make your red bean soup?
Mom: Oh it’s easy. Just add red bean.
Me: Uh red bean to what?
Mom: Water
Me: Well how much water.
Mom: Half and half.
Me: Half of the bag?
Mom: Yeah half of that.
Me: Well how much water?
Mom: Half of the pot
(At this point, I’m hoping her and I are envisioning the same pot.)
Me: Well what about sugar?
Mom: Oh yeah add that after you eat it.
Me: (Uh…?) You mean add while cooking?
Mom: Yeah just taste it and see. Oh and make sure you soak the beans so it’s soft.
Dad: Oh and add the citrus peels
(3 hours later she calls me)
Mom: Wai Wai… don’t forget to clean the red beans and citrus peels.

Of course this was all in Chinese. So there was lots of “ahhhhhhhhhhhh” “ohhhhhhhhhh” “wai wai wai wai wai” going on and dramatic hand gestures.

So that was that. I’ve learned over the years that good Chinese cooking does not really have recipes. It’s a go and try kinda thing.

More about the red bean: Red beans are commonly used in Asian cooking. They are smaller than your chili bean. It’s also called the Azuki Bean. It’s also made into Red Bean Paste which is put into sweet breads and other Asian desserts. Mr. Wong and I also like to put it into our red bean icy drink called “Hung Dau Bing.” The red bean has a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, etc. (courtesy of Wiki) There’s also the Green bean too but I believe he is less popular. Oh yes, we also love the Red Bean Ice Cream. Available at your local Asian grocery store for at least $4.99 for a small pint.

Recipe for The Sweet Red Bean Soup Dessert:

Here are your basic ingredients: Brown candy, Azuki Beans, and Dried Citrus Peels.


1st step: Clean the beans and soak them in water. Do it over night or if you don’t have the time, soak them for a few hours. The longer you soak, the less you have to cook it.

2nd step: Clean the citrus peels. It even says it on the package in big letters. So that means you must do it!

3rd step: Start boiling the beans. I actually used the entire bag since I was making a big pot. Add the citrus peels (use three to start with, if you think it needs more, add more later) and brown candy (I added 2 bars to start with and then added another one after getting Mr. Wong to taste it).

4th step: Let it boil. And stir and stir. Then cover and set to simmer. Cook until the beans are soft. Since I soaked the beans for only 4 hours, I let it simmer for around 2 hours. If it is not sweet enough, add more brown candy and stir. Take out the citrus peels and it is ready to serve.

And you can eat it the next day as well. Cold or re-boil.

You can even add little sweet dumplings “tong yoon” if you want.

Don’t ask me for help on this. There are only three ingredients. It would be hard to mess up.