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!
Pearled barley (left) and mung beans (right) make for a simple tasty soup
Lv / Lü Dou Tang
Mung Bean Soup
Makes 3-4 small servings Continue reading
A few days before Chinese New Year, I brought red bean sticky rice cake for my friends at the restaurant to try. “What is it?” one of the servers asked. “Bean cake,” K told them. “Hmm, is this eaten with anything else- ice cream or something?” S asked. “It tastes….innnnnteresting…”
1) Sweet bean taste (and weaker bean taste, too, because this was a store-bought cake, not the one I made) and 2) Rice in dessert made for some disappointments in taste and texture department from these French cuisiners. Oops! Needless to say, they were not fans. I later told my mom on the phone about this funny cultural exchange, and we talked about the differences in Western and Eastern palates.
It’s funny how different cultures think about different ingredients. For beans, Western cuisine and Eastern cuisine have completely different takes on it!
When I think of beans with a Western brain, I think of salt: chili, hummus, rice and beans, split pea soup, and salad.
When I think of beans with an Eastern mindset, I think of both salt and sugar: tofu, soy sauce, soymilk pudding, red bean paste (豆沙), Vietnamese 三色冰 or Che Ba Mau, red bean soup, mung bean soup, etc.
But, please stay with me on this beany journey- learn to appreciate both the savory and sweet applications of our legume friends!
‘Mung bean’ is the more appealing translation of the Chinese word lv dou (綠豆). Lv dou actually translates to ‘green bean,’ just like adzuki bean is another word for red bean. I’m sure people would be gagging if they heard green bean soup as a dessert, as a picture of the lovely string bean would first pop up in their minds.
If the taro version is the ‘original’ 西米露, then allow me to call this its mung bean cousin.
I was tempted to add a pinch of salt, after thinking of how salt is so smartly applied in the famous Thai dessert of mango sticky rice, but feel free to include or exclude that if you wish. I don’t think Chinese people ever add salt to desserts, so I guess this is my take on this one.
Also, I’m not sure if 綠豆西米露 is the official correct name for this, but it’s the way I thought to differentiate it from its popular taro counterpart. Bon appétit!
|Pre-coconut milk…post coconut milk looks kind of funky! :d|
lv dou xi mi lu
Mung Bean Tapioca Soup Continue reading
Every year our church holds two potlucks, and the weather forecast showed this past Sunday to be a warm day. I was trying to think of something that would be good for a crowd, yet easy enough to make in my barely-moved-in kitchen supplies and equipment! My friend G had requested that I make the Taro Coconut Dessert, but I thought it would be too warm for that. She has some food allergies and also tries to be vegan when possible, so I tried to also keep her in mind for the dessert.
Enter memories of mung bean soup, or lu dou tang, from childhood. My mom would make this simple lightly sweetened dessert of mung beans cooked until they were ‘sandy’, served cold. Sometimes she would add grains or seeds like lotus seeds or pearled barley, but the heart and soul was the mung bean. I thought of grass jelly as a refreshing addition to the mix, then thought of chewy mochi balls for some texture. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this soup would actually be an ode to some of my most favorite Taiwanese shaved ice fillings, in a drinkable form. (Imagine trying to make shaved ice for 100+ people and keeping it cold…good luck!) To keep it simple, I’ll call this mung bean soup. The additions are recommended, but not required; even just mung beans on their own soup taste delicious.