This is one of those famously simple and easy to make dessert soups to round off a meal.
Every Chinese would have grown up imbibing this nutritious red bean dessert. Red beans are like mung beans - full of goodness. What we call red beans is really Adzuki beans. They are also the most "yang" of all beans. They're tiny and hard red beans which when cooked, turns soft and delicious!
Adzuki beans (Paseolus angularis) are rich in soluble fibre which, like oats, help eliminate cholesterol from your body. They contain magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc copper, manganese and vitamin B3. And the good news is, they also reduce blood pressure. Accordingly, these powerful beans possess inhibitors which disturb the development of cancer cells.
It is no wonder that Adzuki beans are the "Mercedes" of beans.
Here's how you cook Adzuki beans.
1/2 pound Adzuki beans
7 cups cold water
rock sugar to taste
(optional: 1/2 cup dried longan flesh)
Wash beans and drain. Put them into a pot and add water. Turn to high heat, cover pot and bring to a boil.
Allow to simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until beans are tender. (You can add dried longans at this stage). Do not cover pot too tightly - allow some steam to escape. Stir from time to time. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add rock sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves approximately 10 minutes. Turn off heat and serve.
This is a dessert soup so you can make it as thick or as thin as you wish. You can also serve it warm or cool. It is not advisable to refrigerate this dessert as it becomes really yucky then, all mushy and soft. But then again, some people like cold desserts so it's really up to you. Just like some people like cold durians!
Note: If you add dried longan (which are sweet by nature), reduce the amount of rock sugar. Dried longans rehydrate when they are simmered and give a nice bite to the pulpy red bean dessert.
You may also add dried tangerine peel (4 pieces or so) if you want to add a zing of flavour to the dessert. Tangerine peel is also good at reducing phlegm. During Chinese New Year, we'd eat a lot of Chinese (mandarin) oranges. My grandmother would carefully peel the mandarin oranges and keep the peel. She'd dry the peel under the hot sun and keep for times like this!