Chinese Sweet Red Bean Soup

“Beans, Beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot”

I used to hate beans.  Hate them as in I would run away from the table screaming if beans were in a 5 km radiums….

My relationship with beans however, took a revolutionary turn last year.  After having dinner with my family at this slightly sketchy Chinese restaurant (with a very sketchy bathroom), the server brought out these piping hot bowls filled with red bean soup as our dessert.  As I saw the server set my bowl in front of me, my heart sank….what happened to egg tarts or those Jello cubes with that paper umbrella thing?!?!?!  Who in their right mind would eat beans for dessert?  That is asking for a gaseous ride back home!

Anyways, after much persuading by my papa, I gave the soup a try…and hey!  It was delicious!!!   I downed the whole bowl and then ate my brother’s too (with his permission…well, he was playing with his Lego pieces and I just snatched his bowl without him noticing).  Now, this is my favoirte dessert of all time.

As most of you know, after moving into my new place in Vancouver, I now have a very very small kitchen that I have to share with 2 other individuals in the house.   I don’t have all of my kitchen gadgets anymore and so my therapeutic cooking sessions are no longer part of my daily life.   My time in the kitchen now is very limited and so I am not cooking a whole lot these days.  But…out of all the gadgets I had given away this past summer, I kept my slow cooker with me, mainly for sentimental reasons (it was from my best friend Jared), but also because somewhere DEEP down, I knew I would put it to good use for something very special.

And that special something, was red bean soup.  Yummmmm.

This was a super easy recipe, but it does take a looooooong time to actually have the beans cook down to the right texture.  I got this recipe from my mama since she is the absolute Queen of cooking.  She usually makes this in the pressure cooker to save time, but the slow cooker also gets the job done………eventually.

2 Cup red beans
1 Cup black rice*
2-3 dried tangerine peels*
2 large chunks of yellow rock sugar (depending on your taste)*
A LOT of water

  1. Start the night before.  Soak the rice and beans in water overnight at room temperature.  I just threw everything in my slow cooker and went to bed.
  2. In the morning.  Add more water into the slow cooker (water height should be about 3 inches over the beans and rice).  Take out any impurities that may have floated to the top during the night and add in the tangerine peels.
  3. Turn on slow cooker to High.  And let it cook for about 6 -7 hours, stirring every hour or two.
  4. At the 5th hour, check on the beans, and make sure that there is enough water.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, then boil some more water, and pour it into the slow cooker.  Also take out the tangerine peels if you don’t want a strong tangerine flavor in your soup.
  5. One hour before the beans are ready, put in the rock sugar.  The sugar will not melt right away into the soup, so stir the soup a little and leave it alone.  Come back an hour later, all the sugar should have all melted and the soup should have a slightly sweet tinge to it.
  6. Once the beans and rice are at the right consistency, you can have the soup hot and keep it warm in the slow cooker on Low setting for a little while longer.  You cal also refrigerate the soup and have it cold.  It tastes deliciously refreshing when it is cold.  Also feel free to remove any tangerine peels you see.

* those ingredients can be easily found in any Chinese supermarket.

And on a very geeky side note:  I added black rice to the soup for a very specific purpose.  Rice and beans are both sources of protein in a vegetarian diet, however, both food groups are lacking in an essential amino acid that the body needs in order to make proteins for metabolic processes.   The amino acid beans are lacking is present in the rice and the amino acid rice is lacking can be found in the beans.  Therefore, by combining these 2 groups of food, they complement each other in their nutrition profiles and thus provide us with a complete protein.  This is especially important for vegetarians as they rely on plant sources of protein which almost always lack at least 1 essential amino acid.  Vegetarians will need to combine various plant foods in order to obtain high quality proteins in the diet.

Also, soaking the beans overnight should remove most of the indigestible fibers in the beans that tend to give you stomach discomfort and flatulence.  So no worries on that part!

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5 thoughts on “Chinese Sweet Red Bean Soup

    • Thanks guys!
      Jared – yes, the slow cooker is still rocking in my kitchen! Thank you.
      Warren – I learned about proteins in my class this past semester. It’s nice to have classes that are actually applicable to real life =)

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