綠豆湯 (lu dou tang) is a popular summertime dish in Taiwan. Due either to the fact that according to chinese medicine green beans have a cooling effect on the body or that it is one of the few things you feel like eating when it is blazing hot out. Served cold and slightly sweet it does take the edge off the heat.
I became accustomed to, well sort of addicted to Green Bean Soup because my barber in Taitung offered up a bowl every time I stopped by. Insisting it would help in surviving Taiwan’s summer heat. Summer may not be as long back here in the States, well at least not where I live, but when the mercury starts to climb I start digging through the pantry for the mung beans. Besides it is great to come in from a long, hot bicycle ride and open up the fridge and pour yourself a bowl.
It is a quite simple, yet not terribly attractive looking soup. In fact the color kind of reminds me of the old second hand fridge that we had as a kid. A fridge that was probably the pride and joy of somebodies avocado green kitchen a decade before. Don’t let the color or the fact that it only has two ingredients (well three if you count water) discourage you from making it. Aside from the water and mung beans the other ingredient is of course sugar. In Taiwan 二砂糖 (er sha tang) is used, this type of sugar most closely resembles, in both color and flavor, sugar in the raw. It is slightly brownish with a large crystal structure. I usually just use a combination of white and light brown sugar to approximate the flavor.
- 300g (10 1/2 oz.) 小綠豆 green mung beans
- 3 l. (13 c.) water
- 200g (7 oz.) sugar (light brown or white or some combination of the two)
- Soak the beans in water for 2 hours, drain.
- In a large stock pot combine the mung beans and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Add sugar, stir to dissolve. Let cool, put into the fridge and serve cold.