Mung bean soup

This traditional Chinese dish is so easy to make it really almost doesn’t deserve a recipe, and definitely is not one of the most photogenic things to feature. Here’s the recipe: mung beans are boiled in water, then sweetened. 🙂

I saw mung beans on sale in bulk at my local grocery and decided to give this simple recipe a try. The soup is considered “cooling” to one’s body by the Chinese, so something good to drink in the summer as a snack or a dessert. The soup itself is a little bit grainy, and I prefer to drink it hot.

I used gula Melaka (palm sugar, with this specific type named after the area in Malaysia it is from), which gives the soup a deeper color and flavor than if it was just regular white sugar. If you don’t have palm sugar, try carmelizing your sugar a bit before adding it to the soup. The rind from one organically grown clementine richened the flavor as well.

Another good addition includes topping the soup with a bit of sweetened coconut cream/thick coconut milk, which adds great flavor and a bit of a garnish. If you add coconut milk, make sure to only add it when ready to serve — coconut milk can go rancid so you don’t want to mix it in with the whole pot of soup, especially if you’re planning on storing the soup for later consumption. Another variation would be the small tapioca balls (significantly smaller than the ones  used in bubble tea!), which will add another texture to the soup.

Sweet Chinese Mung Bean Soup


  • 1-2 cups mung beans
  • Water to cover
  • Sugar to taste
  • Rind of one orange or clementine


  • Soak mung beans for a few hours, cleaning off husks and impurities that float to the surface. Drain.
  • Boil soaked beans in a pan with orange peel, covered with roughly 4x water, until beans are soft.
  • Sweeten soup to taste.

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