Recipe: Mung Bean Soup(绿豆汤)

This soup is a Chinese soup made with whole unpeeled mung beans. They are called 绿豆 (lü dou, also spelled lv dou, pronounced like “lee doh”) in Chinese, literally “green bean”, which is a good description because they are green colored and beans. But in English we already have a “green beans” (called 四季豆 or “four seasons beans” in Chinese) so we have to name them after the Indian name. In Hindi, they are called moong dal, so we call them mung beans in English. There are two main kinds, the whole unpeeled beans and the split peeled beans. I already introduced the whole unpeeled beans in my pesarattu recipe. They are also used to make a dal dish in India. The split peeled beans are also used to make dal, and they cook very quickly. In China, beans are always used to make sweet dishes, unlike India. So there are mainly two uses. The whole unpeeled ones make this soup, called 绿豆汤 (lü dou tang, “green bean soup”), and the peeled split ones make a sweet paste used as a filling for desserts, called 绿豆沙 (lü dou sha, “green bean sand”). In Cantonese, the soup is also called 绿豆沙, the same name as the paste.

Mung bean soup is always eaten during the summer in China. It is believed to have strong cooling effects, even though it is traditionally served piping hot. People who are too yin cannot eat the soup, and same with people who are older. But that’s just superstition because in India many old people eat mung dal and are fine. Actually in China there is less superstition now so more people can enjoy the soup. 🙂 But maybe they do have some cooling effect, hehe. When I visited China in the summer (every day 100 degrees Fahrenheit with over 90+% relative humidity, I almost had heat stroke twice…) there were many ice cream stands selling mung bean popsicles, yum! Anyways, it’s not summer, but it southern California even during Christmas it is over 80 degrees, and today it was over 90 degrees, so not as hot as China suring the summer but still quite hot. So try this soup to get cool! And although it is traditionally served piping hot, I prefer it just warm. You can even serve it cold like cold soups in western cuisines. Chinese people also sometimes eat it cold or room temperature. Or incorporate it into a popsicle, hehe. I serve the soup as a dessert after dinner. You can serve it for breakfast or lunch too or as a snack meal.

This recipe includes Chinese brown slab sugar. This ingredient is easily found in Chinese grocery stores. In soups, Chinese people use either yellow rock sugar (冰糖, bing tang, “ice sugar”) or brown slab sugar (片糖, pian tang, “slice sugar”). Use brown slab sugar for this recipe. They are sold in about 1 lb packages that have slabs of brown colored sugar inside.

Serves 4
Adapted from Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young, a great book filled with traditional Cantonese recipes including many healthy soups 🙂

1 cup whole unpeeled moong dal / mung beans
1/4 cup lotus seeds (optional) (I did not use)
1.5 liters (1500 ml) water
1 1/2 slabs (3 oz) of Chinese brown sugar (you can also use rock sugar)

1. Rinse mung beans and lotus seeds if using, drain.
2. Add to pot with 1.5 liters water.
3. Bring to a boil on high.
4. Simmer on low for 1 hour. Actually they cook very quickly and are already soft after 30 minutes, so you can stop then. You can partially mash after done.
5. Add sugar and cook until dissolved.
6. Serve hot (traditional), warm, or cold.


(Sorry! I forgot to take a picture. I will next time :))


6 thoughts on “Recipe: Mung Bean Soup(绿豆汤)

    1. No, it probably will not change any flavor but just texture. You don’t have to include them. The book’s recipe is very unique as it calls for pureeing the beans after one hour then cooking with lotus for one hour. Most recipes just call for cooking the beans for 30 minutes and that’s it. I think for this recipe Ms. Young was trying to get rid of some of the yin cooling effects by cooking longer, because she mentioned she was a very yin person.

    1. Merhaba! Lol, sort of random comment XD !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
      I’m going next week, not saying what day I’m leaving though for personal privacy (sort of silly)
      I made homemade pasta (I made fettucine instead of tagliatelle because I have the cutter) today with almost authentic ragu bolognese but it wasn’t as good, I guess because I made somewhat differently than before. Next time I can make like before. I also dropped an egg on the ground while taking out from fridge, what a waste of organic free-range egg! Must use up fridge stuff before I go to Turkey! I don’t really have any veg left, I should get potatoes but the store where I buy veg is too far and not really worth. Potatoes are very good right now. I made the most amazing and delicious and tasty great aloo tikki. It is so extremely good. And my Japanese-Korean fusion-ish potato salad is very good too. So potatoes are very good to always have. 🙂

      1. I am in summer mode cooking
        lots of Bulgogi that may even impress Maanghi (it was THAT good!!)
        You mentioned potatoes. My fan
        potatoes turned out SO deRicious as well. It’s been a ‘carb galore’ kinda weekend and now you mention homemade pasta…me thinks that pasta is easy to make, hmmm sounds like another great meal in the making (lucky you with a pasta machine) 😉 😉 BE SAFE and maybe comeback with new recipe inspiration to share. Hope you have your in flight reading ready 🙂

      2. Thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
        Yum! Bulgogi! I love Bulgogi! I should start BBQ sometime after I return from Turkey.
        Potatoes are very yummy and nutritious and filling and have lots of nutrients, you can actually survive for a month eating only potatoes, but don’t try it!
        Yum, pasta! The pasta machine is really really helpful! But of course it doesn’t work too well for udon rolling since it’s much thicker. It costs way too much though. I normally wouldn’t buy it but there were some special circumstances. Pasta with ragu takes forever, years, centuries, to make and is not something I would make often, plus the lack of vegetables, and with all of that non-vegan stuff, but it’s yum, so I still make it. XD
        Thank you! I hope I will. Yes! I hope I can sleep on the plane, but I never fall asleep, lol. I usually stay awake for hours before I can even have a short nap, and sometimes I don’t fall asleep for all 10+ hours. That’s why I really hate airplanes and also the loudness, ear pain when it starts to land, and that tiny chance of the plane crash or terrorists 😰 (don’t worry) and other factors… And having to stop at London before flying to other countries is very annoying since I have already been in the London airport but cannot go to London! Sorry, hehe. But I hope I will enjoy Turkey. It’s weird that the USA Gov says that Turkey is a “highly dangerous” place to visit for USA and Canadian citizens and it’s full of wars and terrorists and kidnappings and bombings to kill tourists… but then most people agree it isn’t. I hope it isn’t! I’m excited to see the famous places in Turkey and also eat Turkish food. My plane arrives at midnight! Crazy! I will not be able to have yummy dinner in Turkey 😦 but I hope I can the next day! I hope the trip will be good!

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