If you are living on the other side of the earth from this little red dot, Tau Suan is a warm, sweet dessert made with split, skinned mung beans. The mung beans is usually steamed still it is cooked before it is boiled in a pot of water. Not just plain water, but water that has been simmering away with a few bundles of pandan leaves or screw pine leaves. The soup is then sweetened with sugar and thickened with starch such as sweet potato flour or water chestnut flour. This dessert is always served with fried you tiao or fried dough fritters, a bowl of tau suan will never taste the same if there is no you tiao to go with it.
Although it is a simple dessert to prepare, it never occurred to me that I could actually make it at home...not until I first saw it at Esther's blog, Bits and Pieces of Life. She has followed the recipe from Makansutra, and thanks to Seetoh's video, I've since learned how to cook tua suan! I noted his unique way of stir frying the mung beans till it caramelised. This is definitely something different from the usual method of steaming the mung beans. By stir frying them, not only it shortens the preparation time; ensures the beans remain 'whole'; it also gives the dessert a nice golden hue. I have later tried another recipe using the steam method (just to compare), but the colour of the tau suan looks so pale and unappetising despite replacing white sugar with brown ones.
article to learn about the 'power' of the various thickening agents. For his recipe, Seetoh uses a combination of water chestnut and sweet potato flour. However, I used only sweet potato flour, yet I don't find the consistency or taste of the tau suan being compromised. My homemade tau suan tastes better than what I could get from most dessert stalls. Someday, when I find suitable recipes to use up water chestnut flour, I will certainly use it to thicken the dessert.
With the right knowledge of the ingredients, and following the recipe closely, anyone can make a nice bowl of tau suan. Do give this simple dessert a try, I am sure you won't regret it :)
Tau Suan with You Tiao
1.5 ltr water
2 ~ 3 bundles of pandan leaves
250g split mung beans
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
50g sweet potato flour (original recipe calls for 30g water chestnut flour and 20g sweet potato flour)
2 ~ 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (adjust according to taste)
1 stick of you tiao
- Soak mung beans for about 5mins. Drain and set aside.
- Wash pandan leaves and tie into bundles.
- Place water and pandan leaves in a pot. Leave to simmer for about 10mins.
- In the mean time, place mung beans in a frying pan. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and stir fry continuously over low heat till the mung beans caramelised (about 8~10 mins).
- Discard the pandan leaves from the pot of water.
- Transfer mung beans into the pot of water. Bring it back to boil. Leave to boil for another 5~10 mins. Taste the beans for the prefered texture. Cook a couple of mins longer if prefer softer texture. Add in 2 ~ 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Dissolve sweet potato flour with 50ml of water. Stir in gradually. Turn off the heat once it comes to a boil.
- Serve with you tiao or dough fritters
Recipe source: adapted from Makansutra Cooking