Nov 2, 2020

We Love Enjoying Beans as a Sweet Treat! Mung Bean and Pearl Barley Soup

Unlike what I've been accustomed to back in the states, in which the beans are often cooked as savory dishes, especially under the influences of Mexican and European cuisines. However, here in Taiwan, we enjoy beans in both savory and sweet ways, I would say more sweet treats than savory.

Take mung bean for instance, it's often made into pastries like mooncake, cooked as sweetened soup, or even blended with milk and simple syrup, which can be a great summer drink. 

Mung bean and pearl barley soup -

Ingredients (about 10 to 12 portions)?

  • 1 pack/350 grams mixed mung beans and pearl barley
  • 200 to 250 grams crystal sugar
  • Some water


Mung bean and pearl barley soup is so common, that we even have pre-packaged mix of these two ingredients together, with instructions on how to make the sweetened soup in the back. So I basically just followed nearly all the steps mentioned with slight modifications based on my own preference.

Rinse the mung beans and pearl barley first, then soak in a big pot for one hour. If you ever heard of Tatung multi-functional cooker, I just take the inner pot, which I can simply use the cooker later for this recipe. By the way, I used filtered water to soak the beans and pearl barley.

Drain and fill up the pot with about 2000ml water. If using Tatung cooker, also add about 1 1/2 cups water to the main cooker. Transfer the pot over, main lid on, press the button and let it cook for about one hour. If you don't have a Tatung cooker, simply cook it on the stove with medium low heat, or keep it at a simmer throughout the process.

If you prefer more soup than the actual ingredients inside, use more water in the beginning. I would say 2500ml at least. Because once cooked, adding water will only dilute the flavors.

Take out the pot/inner pot and flavor it with crystal sugar, 200 to 250 grams should be enough. Always start off with less amount of sugar since you can always add more if needed to.

I prefer my mung bean and pearl barley soup cold, so once the whole pot cools down, cover with lid or cling foil, then transfer to the fridge and keep till cold.

Instead of mung beans, some people use red beans instead, especially during winter time. Mung beans are considered on the "colder" side as red beans are more of a "warm" ingredients in Chinese cooking. 

If you even dine at a shabu place in Taiwan, I mean the regular Taiwanese style shabu place, not the fancy kind, you'll often find mung bean and pearl barley soup served at the end as a complimentary sweet treats to complete the meal. Hot shabu then sweet and cold soup in the end, that do sounds like a good combo to me.

Other Taiwanese sweets recipes:

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