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Tau suan is a classic Chinese dessert soup made from mung beans. The sticky, thick sweet syrup topped with savoury, crunchy you tiao (fried dough sticks) can be served both hot and cold. Mung beans are also packed with healthy nutrients and are high in antioxidants.

Tau suan (sweet mung bean soup) brings back happy memories of my childhood. My late paternal grandmother used to buy it for me as a treat.

The highlight of the dessert is the topping of you tiao.

If you can’t get ahold of you tiao, simply go without – it just means less calories.

But if you do have you tiao, toast it and cut it into pieces just before serving. The savoury and crispy pieces complement the sticky sweet texture of the tau suan.

It does require some patience to caramelise the sugar. Do it over low heat and you should get a beautiful rich caramel.


  • 300g mung beans
  • 12 pandan leaves
  • 250g sugar
  • 2½ litres water
  • 140g sweet potato flour
  • 100ml water
  • 3 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 4 you tiao (fried dough sticks, toasted and cut into bite-sized pieces)

Soak the mung beans for two hours. Drain off water and rinse.


Cut four pandan leaves and place them with the mung beans in a heat-proof bowl.


Steam on high heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Check that the mung beans are cooked but not split.


Discard the pandan leaves.


In the meantime, in a sturdy stainless steel pot, heat the sugar over low heat. Do not stir until the sugar caramelises.


Boil the water in a separate pot and add to the caramel. The caramel will crystallise but will melt eventually.


Add the remaining pandan leaves into the pot of syrup.


Mix the sweet potato flour with 100ml of water to dissolve it. Add the mixture to the syrup.


Add the steamed mung beans to the syrup. If you find the mixture not sweet enough, add the sugar.


Stir and turn off the heat.


Discard the pandan leaves.


Serve hot and garnish with you tiao pieces.

ABOUT THE CHEF: You can follow Hedy on her Instagram account @hedchefhedykhoo for more of her culinary adventures.

Text and recipe: Hedy Khoo/The Straits Times

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