Last night I finally tried a recipe I saw a few weeks ago and have been dying to try. Reading the blog that featured the recipe, it sounded so delicious, and rather exotic, yet simple, and I simply had to try it. Chè Đậu Xanh, otherwise known as Vietnamese Dessert Soup With Mung Beans, was featured on The Kitchn, a cooking blog I somehow stumbled across, probably on Facebook. I finally bought mung beans a week or two ago, and yesterday had some time on my hands, thanks to the inclement weather.
Chè Đậu Xanh (Vietnamese Dessert Soup With Mung Beans)
- 1 cup dried mung beans, soaked for at least 4 hours
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
“Drain and rinse the soaked mung beans.
Place beans and 5 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, add sugar, and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk.
Let cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour.”
I have never used mung beans before, but the directions on the package said to soak them for at least 4 hours. The package did not specify the amount of water, so I covered them totally and let them sit for more than 5 hours, until I was able to drain, rinse, and use them. I followed the directions, adding the sugar once the water was boiling, and then left it all cooking on low.
That’s when disaster struck. We were in inclement weather, as I mentioned. The wintery mix had given way to snow several hours before. We were watching a movie while the bean soup simmered, when we saw a bright blue flash outside the house and power flickered off. Another flash, and it flickered off again. Third time was the charm, and the power stayed off. Til 2:30am. While we are grateful for the quick turn-around time for repairs by BGE, it definitely presented a challenge in finishing the recipe. By then the beans had simmered on low for about an hour, which seemed like a sufficient amount of time. Knowing our electric heat would be off most, if not all, of the night, and therefore the house itself would be a refrigerator, and not wanting to open our own fridge and let more cold air out, I opted to mix in the coconut milk by candlelight (Thank God for manual can openers.), and let the soup cool on the stove in the pan. When I woke up this morning, the power was back on, but the soup was still chilly. So I had some for breakfast.
I have to say, I was a little disappointed. It didn’t taste bad, just rather odd to my palate. The broth, if you want to call it that, the sweetened, watered-down coconut milk with a hint of mung bean flavor, was quite tasty. I could put that in a glass and drink it. However, the mung beans themselves, while soft enough to comfortably eat, were not soft like I’d imagined, like lentils. Instead they were a bit firm and chewy, and did not seem to have absorbed any of the broth’s flavor. It was like eating two separate dishes at one time. The soup was nourishing–sugar is the least healthy ingredient in the recipe–and very filling. I was able to shovel quite a bit of snow on a belly full of it. But it wasn’t delicious. Not to me. Not like I’d imagined, based on the descriptions of the blog.
So I’m a little disappointed, but I’m not giving up. I’m going to try to keep trying new things. Not all of them will be new favorites, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know.