Comfort Cooking

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Red bean potong

At a loss as to what to cook tonight? Fret not. In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo features nourishing recipes you can whip up during the circuit breaker period


Put aside your anxieties of not getting your chocolate fix. Keep calm and eat red bean popsicles instead.

Making your own red bean potong provides welcome distraction. Potong means cut in Malay and this treat is so named because ice cream vendors used to sell it by cutting rectangular pieces from a big block of ice cream and putting them on a stick.

A taste of it sends me right back to my childhood.

I used a regular popsicle mould because I do not have a rectangular one. If you do not have popsicle moulds, use freezer-friendly containers.

For a little twist on the traditional red bean potong, I usually add dried Mandarin orange peel because I have a stash of it in my fridge, for making red bean soup. Potong purists may see red at this, but I like that citrusy flavour.

For a pop of colour, you can, although it is not necessary, add two drops of rose pink food colouring.

If you do not have food colouring, try a few drops of grenadine - if you have it at home.

The most wonderful part about making this popsicle is that you can make sure it is chock-full of red beans.

If you like your potong ice cream totally smooth, you can blend all of the red beans. I prefer my potong lolly to have a more textured bite.

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500g red beans

2 litres of water

400ml coconut cream

10 pandan leaves, knotted into two bunches

1 piece of dried Mandarin orange peel

2 drops of rose pink food colouring (optional)

150g sugar

½ tsp salt


1. Soak the red beans for at least two hours.

2. Wash and rinse the red beans.

3. Place the red beans in a pot and fill with two litres of water. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the knotted pandan leaves and orange peel to the pot.

5. Simmer for about two hours. Stir to prevent the beans from getting stuck to the bottom of the pot and burning. 6. Before the end of two hours, add the sugar and salt. Remove the pot from the heat.

7. Set aside about half of the red beans.

8. Remove the pandan leaves from the pot and discard.

9. Add the coconut cream to the remaining red beans in the pot and blend.

10. Add two drops of rose pink food colouring. Continue to blend until the colour is even.

11. Put the mixture back on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Turn off the heat.

12. Add the reserved red beans. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

13. Spoon the mixture into popsicle moulds. 14. Freeze overnight.

15. To remove the potong ice cream from the mould, let the mould stand in a water bath (without the water coming into contact with the potong ice cream) for two or three minutes.

Makes about 16 popsicles

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2020, with the headline Comfort Cooking: Red bean potong. Subscribe