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If you live in Southeast Asia, you might be familiar with this local sweet thick porridge-like dessert made of split mung beans called Tau Suan or 豆爽 in Chinese, Lek Tau Suan in Bahasa Melayu. This traditional local dessert is usually sold at dessert stalls in food courts or hawker centres in Singapore and served with You Tiao (油条 or Chinese Fried Cullers) and occasionally drizzled with some coconut milk. Among other desserts, you will also find green bean soup, red bean soup, bobo chachar, black glutinous rice sweet soup, ice kacang, chendol, and other delicious local desserts.
Making the Tau Suan is incredibly easy. You can prepare the various ingredients and keep it aside until you are ready to ‘assemble the soup’. First you wash and soak the split mung beans over a few hours in advance, then steam it for a quick 20-30 minutes to soften the beans, and store it in the fridge covered in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Then you prepare the soup base by boiling brown sugar (I used the Monk fruit brown sweetener as a sugar replacement as it’s natural and contains almost zero calories, thus a much healthier version), pandan leaves, pinch of salt in water, leave it aside until you are ready to add in the steamed mung beans and the potato starch slurry. Since potato starch is gluten-free, this dessert is safe for people who avoids taking gluten-loaded food.
To make the Tau Suan dessert, simply boil and simmer the soup base, remove the pandan leaves, then add the steamed split mung beans, and the potato starch slurry until it’s thickened. We love eating it hot with You Tiao on the side and it’s a favourite among the locals for breakfast, tea break or even as a dessert any time of the day.
Tips for making Tau Suan:
- Use fresh dried mung beans. I have once used mung beans that are probably been left in the shelf for too long, it looked a long long time to steam it and it’s still not softened enough. After washing the mung beans under running water, make sure the water runs clear. Then soak the mung beans for at least 4 hours. I usually soak it overnight, soaking it before I go to bed and then the next morning, the mung beans are ready to steam.
- Steam the mung beans instead of boiling it, so it keeps the shape well. Depending on the steamer and the heat, it should take about 20-30 minutes to steam it until it is soft enough but not mushy.
- The thickener of the sweet soup uses the combination of potato starch and water in equal portion. For the ingredients and portion in this recipe, it’s 5 tbsp potato starch and 5 tbsp of water. To thicken the Tau Suan effectively and evenly, add the slurry the last and slowly add it in while stirring the soup with the mung beans. If you see thick clouds of the slurry forming, it’s ok, simply break the thickened slurry using a spoon and it’ll break down eventually.
- You can prepare the steamed mung beans in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- When making Tau Suan, make sure you do not overcook the beans in the sweet soup. Simply boil and simmer the soup, then add the beans and give it a quick stir. Otherwise, the beans will turn too soft and mushy. The perfect Tau Suan should have rather firm mung beans in a thickened sweet soup.
- Make just the right portion of Tau Suan. I would not recommend storing Tau Suan as the soup will turn more watery and you may need to add more starch to thicken it again.
Watch how to cook Tau Suan on YouTube
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Tau Suan – Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free (豆爽, Lek Tau Suan, Split Mung Bean Dessert)
Potato Starch Slurry
- 5 tbsp potato starch
- 5 tbsp water
- Wash 200 g split mung beans under running water a few times until the water runs clear.200 g split mung beans
- Soak the mung beans fully covered in water over at least 4 hours or overnight. The mung beans will expand in volume overtime. Then drain thoroughly.
- Spread the mung beans evenly on a steamer plate. Place cut 4 pandan leaves evenly among the beans.4 pandan leaves
- Steam over boiling water for about 20-30 minutes till cooked soft but not mushy. Turn off heat, discard pandan leaves and set aside till ready to make the Tau Suan. Note: make sure the steamed beans have completely cooled before covering it. If you are not cooking the Tau Suan on the same day, you can store the mung beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks until you are ready to cook it.
- Add 6 cups water, 80 g Monk fruit golden sweetener (or palm sugar), 1/8 tsp salt, 10 pandan leaves to a pot. Bring the soup to boil over medium heat. Once boiled, reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes to let the pandan leaves infuse its flavour into the soup.6 cups water, 80 g Monk fruit golden sweetener, 10 pandan leaves, 1/8 tsp salt
- Discard the pandan leaves. Adjust sweetness by adding more sweetener or sugar according to your taste preference. Note: you can set aside till ready to cook the Tau Suan.
- To cook the Tau Suan, bring the sweet soup to simmer over medium heat. Then add the steamed mung beans and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Make potato starch slurry by mixing 5 tbsp potato starch with 5 tbsp water.5 tbsp potato starch, 5 tbsp water
- While stirring the sweet soup constantly over simmering heat, add potato starch slurry to thicken the soup.
- Let it simmer for another 30 seconds while stirring constantly. Turn off heat.Note: do not overcook, otherwise the mung beans will become too soft and mushy and the thickened soup will become watery. If you see thick clouds of the slurry forming, it's ok, simply break the thickened slurry using a spoon and it'll break down eventually.
- Serve the Tau Suan warm with You Tiao.