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Red Bean Dessert Soup in a bowl with a spoon in it.
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4 from 1 vote

Red Bean Dessert Soup (红豆汤)

Red Bean Dessert Soup is made using 5 ingredients and even fewer steps - just boil, mash and serve. Learn our technique for that signature grainy texture!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 15 mins
Soaking Time3 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese
Servings: 8
Calories: 111kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • Sieve


  • 250 g / 0.55 lb adzuki beans
  • 2 dried tangerine peels
  • 50 g / 0.11 lb rock sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 brown sugar slab (or to taste)
  • 2 L / 8.5 US cup water (plus more for soaking and washing)


  • Soak the adzuki beans in cool water for 3 hours, then drain. Fill a pot up with water and bring to a boil. Pour the drained beans in to cook for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  • Add 2L (8.5 US cup) water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the beans and tangerine peel in to boil for 2 hours with the lid partially on.
    Note: Make sure the beans are boiling and cooking rapidly the entire time. If it looks like the liquid is starting to overflow, turn the heat down but make sure to keep it as close to a boil as you can.
  • After the two hours, add the sugars in and stir to dissolve.
  • Optional: Scoop half the beans into a sieve, then mash them into a bowl to extract the paste.
    Note: This step is done to achieve the grainy texture, but can be skipped if you prefer a smoother consistency.
  • Pour the paste back into the pot.
  • Optional: Take the tangerine peel out and finely mince it until it resembles a paste, then mix it back in.
    Note: If you don't like the sharp kick of tangerine peels and only want the light citrus flavor, just take it out after it has cooked through.
  • Serve hot or cold as is!


  • Start with less sugar. You can always add more to taste, but try to avoid adding too much at first because you can't take it back out.
  • Use new dried beans. The older they are, the more likely you'll end up with bitter undertones. Our family likes to buy smaller packets so we can quickly replace them with new ones when we're out.
  • Opt for older dried tangerine peels. Considered a Chinese delicacy, the older the dried tangerine peels, the more fragrant and complex the flavors.
  • For this recipe, we use a combination of brown and rock sugar. The brown sugar slab gives it more of a toffee sweetness while the rock sugar a gentle sweetness. You can use just one of the two or swap them out for regular granulated sugar. Just make sure to adjust to taste.
  • We buy our dried adzuki beans and tangerine peels from the Asian supermarket. They're packaged in plastic bags and can be found alongside the dried herbs and spices.
  • You can customize this recipe by adding lotus seeds (soaked overnight), lily bulbs (soaked overnight), sago or taro balls. For a Vietnamese take, you can add coconut cream.
  • Speed up the cooking time by soaking the adzuki beans over night, then freezing them in a ziplock bag along with the soaking liquid. Just before you plan to cook them, thaw everything using hot water. You'll be able to cook the beans in one hour.


Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg