Green bean soup is a type of Chinese dessert (Tong Sui / 糖水). I love this simple dessert since I was a child, and I am so glad that it’s really easy to cook this!
This dessert is usually prepared when the weather is hot here in Singapore, as it is said to be “cooling” and able to “dispel heatiness” in our bodies. I remembered there was a year when the haze was really bad, and the green beans were wiped out on the grocery shelves!
This dessert can be taken hot or chilled – I particularly love eating this chilled on a hot day!
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How To Cook This?
You can start by soaking the green beans overnight, or for at least 2-4 hours. The green bean soup can be cooked over the stove, in a pot, together with some pandan leaves and rock sugar.
There are 2 types of green bean soup – the clearer soup type vs the thicker one. I love boiling the thicker soup, where the beans are really, really soft.
However, to save time from watching the stove, I usually prefer to cook this in a thermal pot. I would boil it on the stove for about 30 mins, before taking it off the stove, and placed into the outer pot. The heat inside the thermal pot will continue to “cook” and soften the beans. I would usually check the pot after 2h. If the soup is too thick, you can add some hot water and adjust accordingly.
If you prefer a clearer soup, simply boil the soup, and then simmer for about 1 hour, before taking the pot off the heat.
You can also add some boiled sago to add texture to the soup!
Is This Sweet?
The green bean soup is usually cooked with rock sugar (冰糖), and with sweet potatoes or sago pearls. I have used Gula Melaka here because my husband loves the taste of this coconut sugar. I find that it also gives a deeper flavor to this classic dessert soup.
If you would like to use Gula Melaka, simply boil the syrup separately and add before serving. I usually do this to sieve out impurities in the sugar. You can also add the Gula Melaka directly into the soup if you like.
I have also tried adding honey to green bean soup for my children, and I quite like the taste too! So you can try out the different sweeteners, and see which one you prefer most!
Green Bean Soup
- 95 g Green Beans
- 1200 ml Water
- 3 blades Pandan Leaves, knotted
- 1 medium Sweet Potato, cut
Gula Melaka Syrup
- 1.5 block Gula Melaka (about 90g-95g or so)
- 7 tbsp water
- Wash and soak the green beans for about 2-4 hours.
- After soaking, drain the beans. Place them together with pandan leaves and cut sweet potato into a pot. Top the pot with 1200ml water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for about 30-45 mins. Make sure your pot is deep enough for the boiling.
- In the mean time, prepare Gula Melaka syrup. Chop the gula melaka into smaller pcs, place into the pot together with the water. Boil over low heat while stirring constantly. Once the Gula Melaka has dissolved, drain syrup over a sieve and set aside.
- If you prefer a clearer soup, cook for about 30-45 mins till soup turns greenish clear. If you prefer softer beans and thicker soup (like I do!), cook for about 1-1.5 hours. You can top with more water in the cooking process if you like. (You can also cook it in a thermal pot)
- Once soup is cooked, discard pandan leaves. Serve warm or chilled, with Gula Melaka syrup to taste.