In Hue, sweet soups are a great favorite.
In the restaurants and parks along the Perfume River, people pause for a
while to enjoy a bowl of sweet soup made with different sorts of bean,
rice, tapioca, bananas or even lotus seeds with root vegetables such as
taro. This recipe is for the classic favorite made with the traditional
mung beans, che dau xanh. On a chilly day, it has the same warming and
comforting effect as a bowl of porridge.
Skinned split mung beans, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained
Caster (superfine) sugar
Toasted coconut shavings (optional), to serve
Put the mung beans in a pan and pour in
500 ml water.
Bring the water to the boil, stirring
constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the water has been
Press the beans through a sieve, or puree
them in a blender.
In a heavy pan, heat the coconut milk with
the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Gently stir in the pureed mung beans,
making sure the soup is thoroughly mixed and heated through.
Serve hot in warmed bowls sprinkled with
toasted coconut shavings, if liked.
Be sure to buy the bright yellow, peeled,
split mung beans for this soup rather than the whole green ones. If you
do buy the whole green ones, they will need to be peeled before cooking,
which is a dull and time-consuming task.