Saturday, November 10, 2012

Red bean soup? Red bean sand? 紅豆沙

Sweat: 15%
Sweet: 85%

Red bean soup is part and parcel of our culture. It is served not only at weddings and Chinese New Year but has become a very common dessert that anyone can easily have anytime of the day (well, at least in Hong Kong). Being away from this never-sleep-city, I have to make my own red bean soup whenever I crave for it.

Although I have been eating it all my life, it is only until recently that I find out the traditional way to cook this dessert. 紅豆沙 literally translates to red bean (紅豆) sand (沙). But not a lot of people are making this dessert "sandy" enough, which is probably why it is sometimes called red bean soup instead. To make a real red bean sand, you have to use a sieve to puree the red bean (as shown in the video below). He is a renowned chef in Hong Kong. I am so glad to have come across this video because now I can easily make proper red bean sand even at home. If you have never made it this way yourself, try it. Once you have tasted this red bean sand, I guarantee you will never go back for the red bean soup. Enjoy!


Red bean
Dried orange peel
Rock sugar


1. Soak the red bean in cold water overnight.
2. Add water, red beans and dried orange peel in the pan. Water and red beans ratio is approximately 4:1. Bring it to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Let it simmer for about 2 hours. Check the softness of the beans. When softened, the skin of the beans can easily come off. Press the white bit with the finger to feel the softness. 
3. Place a sieve over a bowl. A little at a time, use a ladle to transfer some liquid and some beans to the sieve. Use the sieve to puree the softened beans. Discard the skin of the beans sitting in the sieve. Only the puree and the water will be needed. When all the beans have been pureed, pour the puree and water mixture back to the pan. Bring it to a simmer again. Stir and add rock sugar to your liking. 
4. Serve with cooked sago and/or glutinous rice dumplings.

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