Red Bean Dessert Soup (Tong Shui)


Chinese dessert soups (or Tong Shui in Cantonese) typically consists of sweet and usually hot soups. One common dessert soup is Red Bean Dessert Soup. To those who are not used to Asian or Chinese Cuisines, yes we Asians love vegetables in our dessert – red beans, green beans, corn.. A Middle Eastern friend was appalled when I served her green bean coconut pudding.. It was interesting to see her reaction, well there’s always a first time for every thing.

The classic recipe is just red beans sweetened with sugar.  I prefer the recipe my mama always make – with the addition of barley, black glutinous rice, pak hup (lily bulb), lotus seed and dried mandarin orange peel. One trick to shorten the cooking time is to put a ceramic soup spoon into the pot while cooking helps the beans break up faster. Sometimes I like to cook this soup in the slow cooker overnight, and I will have this soup for breakfast 🙂

5.0 from 2 reviews
Red Bean Dessert Soup (Tong Shui)
Cook time
Total time
Red Bean Dessert Soup is a common Chinese dessert soups (or Tong Shui in Cantonese). This recipe is with the addition of barley, black glutinous rice, pak hup and mandarin orange peel
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • 200 gm Red Beans (Red Azuki Beans)
  • 1 tablespoon Barley
  • 1 tablespoon Black Glutinous Rice
  • a handful of Pak Hup (Lily Bulb)
  • 4-5 Lotus Seeds - dark green core removed
  • 1 liter Water, can reduce or add more
  • Dried Mandarin Orange peel (optional)
  • Rock Sugar / Sugar - or amount to your taste
Using Pot:
  1. Bring water to boil and add red beans. Reduce to simmer.
  2. Add mandarin orange peel and rock sugar after 30 minutes and continue to simmer for at least another 30 minutes or until the beans and rice is soft.
Using Slow Cooker:
  1. Put all ingredients (except rock sugar) in a slow-cooker and cook it for 3 hours or overnight on automatic.
  2. Add rock sugar 10 minutes before serving hot.
- This dessert can be served hot or cold - You can adjust the amount of red beans and black glutinous rice according to your preference. - The amount of water used depends on how high your stove power and how long you cook. Top up with more boiling water if necessary. (If you use slow cooker, you’d need less water.) - If you would like to enjoy the texture of whole red bean, you just cook to the point what I had. If you like the soup thicker, cook longer time


  1. Pingback: Excellent Chinese Soup Book (2nd Edition) | Savoir Vivre -> 活学活用

  2. This is my favorite soup, however, I didn’t know there are lots of “secret” herbs and ingredients in here. I go to one Chinese restaurant just because they serve this soup at the end of meal… yep that’s my only purpose…well the meal is pretty good too, but I’m that crazy. I love this soup so much!!!

    • the classic red bean soup is just red beans and sugar. most people I know also include black glutinous rice, lotus seeds and dried mandarin peel. but i prefer mine with lots more ingredients 🙂 The red bean soup at the chinese restaurant must be really good! this soup is very easy to make on your own, even just red bean is nice.

  3. How original! I have already seen dessert soups for example with cherries, but I had no idea they existed in the Chinese cuisine too. The ingredients are very intriguing for someone who has never tasted such a dessert.

    • dessert soup with cherries? first time i heard about this. interesting and sounds delish! some chinese restaurants will serve red bean dessert soup as desserts and it’s super easy with slow cooker / crock pot

  4. This post is so fetish-worthy, I’ve been inspired to include it in my Friday Food Fetish blog. If you have any objections, please let me know

  5. Wow I have never had anything like this! I will have to try it some time 🙂

  6. That’s a very intersting tip to shorten the cooking time. I wouldn’t usually think of beans in a sweet dish, but this looks very interesting!

  7. Hmmm. This sounds interesting. I have some rock sugar and was just wondering what else I could use it in besides tea.

    • Rock sugar is just like any type of sweetener, and it dissolves faster in hot liquid. Chinese use rock sugar to sweeten herbal tea and sweet dessert soup. Rock sugar is believed to be a healthier substitute than refined sugar

  8. that’s how i cook mine too. i prefer to use the slow cooker.

    but the use of barley is something new for me. will try it the next time i boil this dessert.

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