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Warm, cozy, sweet, this Red Bean Soup (Azuki Bean Soup) is a great Asian afternoon snack that will make your belly and heart satisfied!
Homemade Red Bean Soup
Red Bean Soup is a traditional sweet soup dish in Taiwan. It’s pretty common in douhua shops.
I’ve been enjoying red bean soup since I was a kid, seriously. And that might need to mention my dad because he is the one who made hundred of red bean soups for me and who taught me how to cook it.
The good thing about homemade soup is that you can adjust the taste and ingredients according to your liking.
What’s more awesome is that you only need 2 basic ingredients (minus the water) to make this red bean soup! Interested? Here we go.
Ingredients You Need
The two ingredients to make this Red Bean Soup is：
- Red beans (Azuki beans)
Seriously, that’s it! Optionally you can add a pinch of salt as I usually do.
How to Make Red Bean Soup
The method is also quite straight forward:
- Soak the beans
- Cook them
- Add sugar
- Taste, and DONE.
However, even though it looks pretty simple and I said so, the devil is in the detail. Red beans are the most difficult beans to handle, in my humble opinion.
The thing is that if you overcook them, they will just be too mushy. If you undercook them, they will be on the hard side. So the cooking time is really important.
My ideal red bean soup is that the red beans are soft but not mushy. Here I share my technique and experiences on how to make the red beans soft but not mushy.
But if you’re a person who prefers a hard bite texture or a mushy one, you can adjust the cooking time accordingly. This recipe is a base recipe for you to start.
I used to use the common, old-fashioned electric rice cooker (like this rice cooker on Amazon) to cook my beans. Now I’m more often using instant pot or pressure cooker because it’s more efficient.
Yet if you don’t have a pressure cooker, no worries, I also share my old cooking method below. But the time might be different based on the size of the pot.
- First, soaked the red beans for 8-12 hours. I usually do this before I go to bed, so when I’m sleeping, they are soaking.
- Next, drain out the soaking water from the red beans. Give then a gentle rinse. This step is important because the soaking water contains the phytic acid released from the beans, which may impair the absorption of some nutrients.
Then there’re two ways to cook the red beans soup:
- in a pressure cooker/instant pot
- in a traditional rice cooker
Using pressure cooker
Transfer the beans to the pressure cooker. Add water to about 1 inch higher above the beans. Put the lid on and cook it over medium heat.
Once the pressure cooker reaches its pressure point (it probably will produce sound or you can see the steam comes out really fast), turn down the heat and set the timer to 6 minutes.
Once the timer rings, turn off the heat and let it sit to release the pressure naturally. I usually let it sit for 1-2 hour.
After the pressure is all gone, open and check the beans. If they are still a little bit hard, cover to cook again without pressure until they are soft enough.
Add sugar and salt and use chopsticks or soft spatula to stir to let all sugar dissolve. Taste to add more sugar if you feel like.
If you want it hot as I do, reheat them over a stove or in a microwave for your convenience. Enjoy it warm or cold.
For the traditional rice cooker method, please see the recipe card down below.
If you accidentally let them go too mushy, no biggie. Don’t throw it out (don’t waste food). You can make them into red bean paste as a topping for your pancakes or bread.
Red bean soup is the first thing that comes to my mind when the weather is cold. I’m not sure why, but probably because of the color. The dark red color of the beans makes this soup look so warm and cozy.
If you love sweet soup as I do, check out：
Taiwanese Red Bean Sweet Soup
- 270 ml (1+ 1/8 cup) red beans
- Water, enough to cover the beans
- 3-5 Tbsp cane sugar, or ground rock sugar, taste to adjust
- 1/8 salt, optional
- Soaked the red beans for 8-12 hours.
- Drain out the soaking water from the red beans. Give then a gentle rinse.
There’re two ways to cook the red beans soup:
Using pressure cooker
- Transfer the beans to the pressure cooker. Add water to about 1 inch higher above the beans. Put the lid on and cook it over medium heat.
- Once the pressure cooker reaches its pressure point (it probably will produce sound or you can see the steam comes out really fast), turn down the heat and set the timer to 6 minutes.
- Once the timer rings, turn off the heat and let it sit to release the pressure naturally. I usually let it sit for 1-2 hours.
- After the pressure is all gone, open, and check the beans. If they are still a little bit hard, cover to cook again without pressure until they are soft enough.
- Add sugar and salt and use chopsticks or soft spatula to stir to let all sugar dissolve. Taste to add more sugar if you feel like it. Serve warm or cold.
Using rice cooker
- Transfer the red beans to the inner pot of the rice cooker. Add water to about 1 inch higher than the red beans. Add 1.5 rice cups (270 ml) water to the outer pot. Put the lid on and turn it on to cook.
- Once the rice cooker finishes cooking. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Open the pot and check the beans. They are normally still a little bit hard to the touch. Add 1 rice cup (180 ml) water to the outer pot and cook again. Add more water to the beans If they absorb most of the water.
- Once the cooker finishes, again let it sit for another 30 minutes before opening.
- Check the beans. If they are not ideally soft, repeat the cooking procedure. If they are soft, add the sugar and salt and use chopsticks or a soft spatula to combine.
- Taste to adjust the amount of sugar. Let the sugar to melt. Then enjoy.
- Storage: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.