Chinese Green Bean Soup Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Ella

Chinese cuisine, renowned for its diverse flavors and aromatic blends, has an array of soups that grace tables with warmth and nourishment. Among these, Green Bean Soup stands out as a classic, celebrated for its simplicity, nutritional benefits, and delightful taste. In this culinary exploration, we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of crafting the perfect Chinese Green Bean Soup, navigating through traditional recipes, regional variations, and modern twists.

Nutritional Benefits of Green Bean Soup

Beyond its delightful taste, Chinese Green Bean Soup brings a host of nutritional benefits to the table:


a. Rich in Fiber: Mung beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health.


b. Protein Powerhouse: Mung beans pack a protein punch, making this soup a nutritious option for vegetarians.


c. Cooling Properties: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, mung beans are believed to have cooling properties, making the soup a popular choice during hot weather.


Chinese Green Bean Soup

Chinese Green Bean Soup, known as 绿豆汤 (lǜdòu tāng) in Mandarin, is a delightful and nutritious dessert enjoyed in Chinese households. This sweet soup, made from mung beans, is not only a culinary treat but also a reflection of Chinese culinary heritage.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Course: Soup
Yield: 3
Cost: $3


  • 1 cup dried mung beans
  • 8 cups water
  • Rock sugar or granulated sugar to taste
  • 2-3 pandan leaves (optional)
  • Tapioca pearls or sago (optional)


  • Rinse and Soak: Rinse 1 cup of dried mung beans under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the mung beans in water for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. This helps soften the beans for cooking.
  • Cooking the Mung Beans: In a large pot, add the soaked mung beans and 8 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  • Adding Flavor with Pandan Leaves (Optional): If you have pandan leaves, tie them into a knot and add them to the pot. Pandan leaves impart a fragrant aroma to the soup. Continue simmering until the mung beans are soft and the soup reaches a creamy consistency.
  • Sweetening the Soup: Add rock sugar or granulated sugar to taste. Start with a moderate amount and adjust according to your sweetness preference. Stir the soup well to ensure the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Optional Additions for Texture: For an extra layer of texture, consider adding tapioca pearls or sago. Cook them separately according to the package instructions and add them to the soup.

Regional Variations

As with many Chinese dishes, Green Bean Soup undergoes regional variations that reflect the diverse culinary traditions across China. Here are some notable regional adaptations:

a. Cantonese Style:

Cantonese Green Bean Soup often includes dried tangerine peel for a citrusy aroma.

Some versions incorporate lotus seeds or lily bulbs for added texture.

b. Hokkien Influence:

Hokkien-style Green Bean Soup may feature sweet potato or taro balls for a unique twist.

Palm sugar is occasionally used for a deeper sweetness.

c. Teochew Tradition:

Teochew Green Bean Soup is known for its simplicity, usually containing just mung beans, water, and sugar.

Osmanthus flowers may be added for a delicate floral note.

Modern Innovations

In the realm of modern culinary exploration, chefs and home cooks alike are infusing Green Bean Soup with creative twists. From matcha-infused variations to coconut milk-infused renditions, the possibilities are as endless as one’s imagination. Let’s delve into some innovative approaches:

a. Matcha Madness:

Infusing Green Bean Soup with matcha powder adds a vibrant green hue and a hint of earthy bitterness.

Matcha lovers can enjoy a fusion of traditional and contemporary flavors.

b. Coconut Delight:

Introducing coconut milk brings a rich and creamy dimension to Green Bean Soup.

The interplay of coconut and mung bean flavors creates a luxurious treat.

c. Red Bean Fusion:

Combining mung beans with red beans offers a delightful play of colors and textures.

The sweetness from both beans creates a harmonious balance.

Tips for Making Perfect Chinese Green Bean Soup

Here are some tips to help you make a delicious and perfect Chinese green bean soup:

a. Green Beans (Mung Beans):

Use high-quality, fresh, and unblemished green beans. Soak them for a few hours or overnight to soften them before cooking.

b. Water:

Use clean and fresh water to cook the green bean soup. The quality of water can affect the overall taste of the soup.

c. Rock Sugar or White Sugar:

Adjust the sweetness to your liking. Rock sugar is preferred for a more traditional flavor, but white sugar works well too.

d. Optional Ingredients:

You can enhance the flavor with ingredients like dried tangerine peel, pandan leaves, or a small piece of ginger. These additions can add depth and fragrance to the soup.

e. Soaking Green Beans:

Soak the green beans for at least a few hours or overnight. This helps soften the beans and reduces the cooking time.

f. Rinse Thoroughly:

After soaking, rinse the green beans thoroughly under cold water. This helps remove impurities and ensures a cleaner taste.

g. Cooking Time:

Simmer the green beans over low to medium heat. Avoid boiling vigorously, as this can cause the beans to break apart. Slow cooking allows the flavors to meld.

h. Skimming Foam:

Skim off any foam that rises to the surface during cooking. This helps clarify the soup and results in a cleaner appearance.

i. Sweetness Adjustment:

Adjust the sweetness according to your preference. You can start with a moderate amount of sugar and add more if needed.

j. Optional Flavorings:

If you choose to add ingredients like dried tangerine peel or pandan leaves, tie them in a piece of cheesecloth for easy removal after cooking.

k. Consistency:

Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more water if it becomes too thick during cooking.

l. Serve Warm or Cold:

Chinese green bean soup can be enjoyed warm or cold. Allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating if you prefer a chilled dessert.

m. Storage:

Store any leftover soup in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stove or enjoy it cold.

n. Garnish:

Consider garnishing the soup with a few osmanthus flowers or a drizzle of honey before serving for an extra touch of sweetness and aroma.


In the heart of Chinese culinary heritage, Green Bean Soup stands as a testament to the art of blending tradition with innovation. Whether you savor the simplicity of a classic recipe or embark on a journey of modern fusion, the essence remains—a bowlful of warmth, sweetness, and cultural richness.

As you gather the ingredients and immerse yourself in the gentle simmering of mung beans, let the aroma transport you to the vibrant kitchens of China, where the legacy of Green Bean Soup continues to evolve. Whether shared with loved ones or savored in quiet solitude, this beloved Chinese dessert soup invites you to experience the harmonious marriage of flavors that transcends time and borders. May your culinary journey be filled with joy, discovery, and the delightful embrace of a well-made bowl of Green Bean Soup.



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