Earlier this week, a reader inquired about more uses for mung beans. Like several of you, my thoughts turned to Asian-style sweet mung bean soup.
In Vietnam, sweet soups or puddings are known as chè. They may be served hot or cold in bowls, glasses, or over ice, and contain ingredients ranging from various kinds of beans to tapioca, glutinous rice, jellies, lotus seeds, and fruit. As a child, the scent of chè simmering on my family's stove always had me jumping in excitement. My favorites were the summertime versions such as chilled chè đậu xanh with sweet, tender mung beans and coconut milk. Mung beans are said to have cooling properties, so this is especially appropriate for hot summer days.
Chè Đậu Xanh (Vietnamese Dessert Soup With Mung Beans)
1 cup dried mung beans, soaked for at least 4 hours
5 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
Drain and rinse the soaked mung beans.
Place beans and 5 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, add sugar, and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk.
Let cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
• Check out these wonderful images of chè street vendors over at the blog noodlepie.
(Image: Emily Ho)