Lv Dou Tang, mung bean soup, is a great healthy breakfast or light dessert. If you add rice (1/8 cup raw rice) and cook for a longer period of time, you’ll get lv dou xi fan, or mung bean porridge, my mom’s choice of accompaniment to cong you bing (scallion pancakes) or jiu cai he zi (chive boxes).

Hong dou tang (Red bean soup), its sister soup, is only served hot, and for hot days like today, it would probably just make you sweat more. Lv dou tang is best eaten cold, because it is great for helping you cool down.  So, make some lv dou tang, chill it in the refrigerator or add some ice cubes, and drink up for a refreshing snack.

Quick fact: Lv or lü (綠), means green, as in the color, just like hong (紅) means red (for hong dou tang). A direct translation of lü dou tang as green bean soup would sound very unappealing to those who imagine string beans in soup. Sweet green bean soup? Yuck! Likewise, red bean soup that is sweet, also sounds pretty strange, if you think of red beans and rice when you hear the word red bean. 😀

Henceforth…mung bean and adzuki bean, their more dynamic and non-literal translations.

Take advantage of lv dou tang’s versatility, and make some now. The version I’ll show you is a very, very basic version. Feel free to add extra goodies like lotus seed (lian zi) or lily bud (bai he)- a few tablespoons of each should do it!

lv dou tang lü mung bean soup

Pearled barley (left) and mung beans (right) make for a simple tasty soup

Lv / Lü Dou Tang
綠豆湯
Mung Bean Soup
Makes 3-4 small servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mung beans
1/4 to 1/3 cup pearled barley (also known as Job’s tears) (optional)
6 cups water
Additional add-ins: lotus seed, lily bud
Sugar (optional)

Instructions:
1) Rinse mung beans, picking out any foreign objects or rocks.

2) Add mung beans, pearled barley and water to a saucepan.

3) Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for at least 30 minutes- longer is better, of course. Ideally, most of the beans will be split apart, and you will see some sludginess at the bottom of the pot. That’s the good stuff! It makes the soup have a creamy texture.

4) Serve cold, slightly sweetened or plain.

lv dou tang lü mung bean soup green

 Substitutions/Notes:

-If you have the time, soak the beans prior to cooking. It will speed up the cooking time a lot, and make the beans fall apart really easily!