Hed Chef

Sweet taste of tradition in a bowl of mung bean soup

Satisfying sweet taste of homemade tau suan. PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - I am not usually a fan of hot desserts, but tau suan (sweet mung bean soup) is an exception because it is a dessert that brings back happy memories of my childhood. My late paternal grandmother used to buy it for me as a treat.

The highlight is the topping of you tiao (fried dough sticks).

The great thing about cooking this dessert at home is you can add as much you tiao as you want. I prefer to toast the you tiao and cut it into pieces just before serving. The savoury and crispy pieces complement the sticky sweet texture of the tau suan.

It does require some patience to caramelise the sugar. Do it over low heat and you should get a beautifully rich caramel.



300g mung beans
12 pandan leaves
250g sugar
2½ litres water
140g sweet potato flour
100ml water
3 Tbs sugar (optional)
4 you tiao (fried dough sticks, toasted and cut into bite-sized pieces)


1. Soak the mung beans for two hours. Drain off water and rinse.

2. Cut four pandan leaves and place them with the mung beans in a heat-proof bowl.

3. Steam on high heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Check that the mung beans are cooked but not split.


4. Discard the pandan leaves.

5. In the meantime, in a sturdy stainless steel pot, heat the sugar over low heat. Do not stir until the sugar caramelises.

Yields 8 servings.

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