Sweet Red Bean Soup (紅豆湯) with Barley and Tang Yuan. Sweet Red Bean Soup (紅豆湯) with Barley and Tang Yuan
If you've ever been to a nice Chinese restaurant or banquet dinner, you know what this is. Red bean soup is a popular dessert soup eaten year-round; cold during the summer months, hot during the winter. The basic red bean soup is make with red beans, water and sugar. The Cantonese version usually includes tangerine peels for extra flavor. Common additions include barley, tapioca, mochi (glutinous) rice balls, sticky rice and sago.
My mom used to make red bean soup for the sole purpose of freezing them into ice pops. She had these small sealable ice pop bags with Mickey Mouse printed on them. My brother and I would help her fill these bags with the red bean soup. We would toss them in the freezer and have a nice, refreshing treat the following day. During the summer, while every other kid in our neighborhood would run after the ice cream truck, my brother and I would grab one of these homemade red bean ice pops. Yum!
Servings: 10 - 12
Red Bean Soup Ingredients:
1 cup of dry red beans
5 cups of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of barley
Tang Yuan (Mochi Rice Balls) Ingredients:
1 cup of sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 cup of water
extra sweet rice flour for dusting
1. Soak dry red beans in at least 2 cups of water overnight.
2. Drain red beans. Place beans in a large pot, add water, sugar and barley. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.
3. While the red bean soup is simmering. Prepare the tang yuan. In a small mixing bowl, combine sweet rice flour, sugar and water.
4. Turn out on your work surface. Knead until the dough comes together. If needed, add more water (1 tablespoon at a time). Working in batches, roll out the tang yuan dough into long snakes, 1 cm thick. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Set aside and dust in sweet rice flour so they don't stick together.
5. Boil the tang yuan. They are done when they float. Remove and soak in the cold water so they don't stick together.
6. When the red bean soup is done, ladle into your serving bowl, drop in the cooked tang yuan.
Taste the red bean soup, if it's not sweet enough, add more sugar.
If you prefer, you can use brown sugar or palm sugar in the red bean soup. Up to your personal taste.
If you can find puffed barley, use puffed barley.
For extra flavor, you can add a dried tangerine peel into your red bean soup. I'm not a fan, but my mom likes it with tangerine.
“Dreams” by Joakim Karud
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