By Yen Simpson at GoodyFoodies

Pulses can easily be incorporated into your daily diet, all year round. Soups are a family-favourite, be it an Asian or Western-style soup. Over Christmas, we made a warming pot of Scotch Broth, to which we add barley and lentils. Using organic chickpeas, I would often make hummus for my husband — he loves it so much that he eats it often with toast in lieu of fruit jams. Speaking of breakfast, we sometimes have dhal with roti canai, a Malaysian-type flatbread at the local mamak.

Collage of recipe photos incorporating pulses

In conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, I am sharing a recipe for red bean soup. This is a type of Asian dessert (tong sui 糖水), eaten at the end of the meal or just as a snack for supper. During CNY, the Chinese are fond of eating dishes with auspicious meanings as they believe it will bring them luck for the new year. Red bean soup signifies strength and tang yuan is often eaten as its round shape symbolises togetherness and reunion.

This is an easy recipe you can try at home. All you need are 4 ingredients for a delicious, warming dessert. The dried red bean (also known as adzuki bean) is first soaked in water for 2–3 hours, and then boiled for another 2 hours. Adzuki beans are regarded as the king of beans in Japan and are prized for their health properties, which is purportedly good for the liver and kidneys. For this dessert, you may either add dried tangerine peel or pandan leaves for extra fragrance; I personally prefer the latter, of which I have used in this recipe. After 2 hours, I mash the red beans roughly with a masher — I find that this gives the dessert soup a nicer, creamier texture. Finally, you can sweeten the dessert with rock sugar.

A spoon lifting out of a bowl of soup, with beans spread around the table

January 18, 2017 will be the second ever Global Pulse Day, a global event to celebrate pulses and continue the momentum of the International Year of Pulses — I hope that you can join me on this day and cook a pulse recipe, or even eat a pulse dish at your favorite restaurant, and share it using the hashtag #GlobalPulseDay and #LovePulses on your social media platforms. You can read more about Global Pulse Day at this link. Please also do visit, which has over 400 pulse recipes, including recipes by 27 Gourmet Gurus from around the world (find me there!).

Enjoy this short recipe video that I made for Global Pulse Day — my red bean soup with tang yuan.

Red Bean Soup with Tang Yuan

 Red Bean Soup with Tang Yuan

4 Serving(s)
Preparation time
Cooking time
2h 15m

Super easy


  • 250 g red beans
  • 1 1/2 litres water
  • 80-100g rock suger
  • 2-3 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 50 g glutinous rice flour
  • 60-75ml water


  1. Soak the red bean in water for 2–3 hours.
  2. Wash, drain and pour into a pot. Add 1.5l of water to the red bean and bring to the boil. Add the pandan leaves. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, remove the pandan leaves. Add the rock sugar gradually, and stir to dissolve. Taste, and sweeten with more rock sugar if necessary.
  4. Make the tang yuan dough. Sift the glutinous rice flour into a bowl. Gradually add water to form a stiff dough. Place dough on board and knead well for 3-4 minutes. Roll firmly into the size of a marble ball.
  5. Drop the balls into the red bean syrup, and cook until they float to the surface. Serve each bowl of hot red bean soup with 3 tang yuans.

Recipe notes

Recipe by Baby Sumo