Red Bean Soup is a classic Chinese dessert soup. It tastes mild, earthy, and soothing. Do not forget to make the pleasantly chewy glutinous rice balls for an extra treat.
It is nearing December and do you know what it means? I know that some of you are currently preparing your heart, mind, and soul for Christmas. However, we have two more things to celebrate at the end of this year. If you are a Chinese descendant, you should be familiar with the Winter Solstice Festival which will be celebrated on December 21. Besides, Indonesians also celebrate Mother’s Day on December 22.
Both occasions are the perfect time to create tang yuan (汤圆) at home. Tang yuan is glutinous rice balls that are served in a sweet soup or savory broth. These small round balls symbolize family unity. It becomes an important seasonal food during a time of year when the seasons begin to the warmth of spring.
On this day, my family usually makes colorful glutinous rice balls with peanut filling and served with sweet ginger-infused syrup. I want to do something similar, but different from the usual. Instead of the insanely sweet syrup for the soup, I use red bean soup which is much healthier and beneficial.
Tips For Making Red Bean Soup with Glutinous Rice Balls
1. Soak the adzuki beans overnight
Soaking adzuki beans is a matter of personal preference and not absolutely necessary. On the other hand, soaking the beans is believed to reduce cooking time and make beans easier to digest. Cover the beans with water and let them soak for 8-12 hours before cooking. Drain and cover them again in water. Boil the beans for 5 minutes, and then drain the beans again to remove any impurities. Look at how foamy the water from the first boil. Get rid of the foam by straining and rinsing the beans before putting them back into clean water.
2. Add more water if necessary
Cooking beans is no more trouble than simmering the beans on the stovetop all afternoon. It takes about 1-1.5 hours to cook the adzuki beans until tender. You may leave your kitchen to do anything else but check occasionally the pot to make sure if you need to add more water. Do not let your soup dried up on the pot.
3. Mash the beans to your liking
Some like this soup with thicker consistency while others prefer it thinner. I personally love the thicker version with mashed red beans, so I blend them until smooth with just a few chunks. Simply add more water for the thinner version. If you like it smooth with no chunks, then strain through a sieve to remove the husk to achieve its velvety texture. You can certainly choose which one to make depending on your personal preference.
4. Add a little bit of water at a time when making glutinous rice balls
Glutinous rice balls are made by mixing glutinous rice flour, salt, sugar, and warm water into a dough. This step is a little bit tricky because rice flour behaves like cornflour. A little too much water will make the dough too runny, while too much flour will make the dough cracks. Add warm water a little at a time to the glutinous rice flour and knead until the dough comes together. The dough should be shiny and has a texture like play-doh. After that, take some dough in your palms and roll it into a small ball. Sprinkle some glutinous rice flour over them as you go so they do not stick together.
I made two versions of glutinous balls. One is the small ones as stated in the recipe. On the other hand, the big ones are filled with black sesame filling. Check out my Black Sesame Glutinous Balls post for the recipe!
More Recipes with Red Bean
If you love red bean, I have a ton of recipes on the blog that you might also like!
- Red Bean Ice Cream
- Dango with Red Bean Paste
- Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake
- Red Bean Mochi with Kinako