Red bean soup (also known as red bean congee, red bean sweet soup) is a popular Cantonese sweet soup, eaten at the end of a meal. It can be served hot or cold, or even frozen into a popsicle. There are many variations you could try, including adding boiled peanuts, sago, or a bit of coconut milk. The ingredients can be found at any Chinese grocery or apothecary, but you won't have much luck at a non-Asian store. My father doesn't follow a particular recipe when he makes this, but the quantities and directions here are what I measured and recorded while watching him one time. His guiding principle is to not be stingy with the ingredients!

About This Recipe

  • Source:
  • Category: Dessert
  • Yield: 12 - 15 servings



  1. In medium bowl, soak red beans, tangerine peel, and rice in cold water for at least one hour. In separate small bowl, soak dried lily bulb in cold water for at least one hour.
  2. In another small bowl, soak lotus seeds in cold water for at least one hour. In a small pot, dissolve ¼ tsp baking soda in a quart of water, and bring to a boil. Add lotus seeds, and simmer for about 10 minutes; they will not be fully tender. Drain and cover in cold water. When cool, drain again, and split seeds in half along natural seam. Remove and discard any bitter germ from the center.
  3. In large stock pot, bring 5 quarts water to boil. Add soaked red beans, rice and tangerine peel. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer gently for about an hour.
  4. Drain soaked lily bulb, and add to pot along with lotus seeds. Continue simmering on low for another 2 hours.
  5. If using tapioca pearls, add to pot, and simmer until tapioca is cooked and becomes translucent.
  6. Break rock sugar into smaller pieces, if possible, then add gradually, stirring until dissolved. Taste as you add, and adjust the amount of sugar, to taste.
  7. Ladle into bowls, serve hot.
Red Bean Soup (紅豆粥)


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