It has been said that Hyacinth bean sweet soup (Chè đậu ván) – a favorite Hue delicacy is elegant, smelling, graceful, and warm as Hue girls. It can make people would like to eat more and more. This dessert has been one of the most beautiful childhood memories of Hue people. Hyacinth bean sweet soup is so simple that most of the people can cook it. However, it is not easy to cook Hyacinth bean sweet soup in Hue style. The beans should be tender but not mushy and broken, the broth should be thick and clear.
In the past, they made Hyacinth bean sweet soup dedicatedly. Soak hyacinth beans in warm water for 6 hours. It is better to soak the beans overnight. Add some ash to cold water, wait until the water turns clear and use the ash water to boil the sweet soup. Peel cooked beans by scrubbing the beans in a basket. Steam the peeled beans with pandan leaves until it has just expanded. Cook the sugar with a little water into a syrup. Pour a mixture of tapioca starch and water into boiling water and stir well into a thick liquid. Add the syrup, then the beans, cook for a while before turning off the oven.
Later, Hue people skip the steps of using ash water, cooking sugar before cooking the broth, and steaming the beans with pandan leaves. They add sugar and pandan leaves to the broth. They also top coconut milk onto the sweet soup to enhance its flavor. Below is a simple recipe for Hyacinth bean sweet soup:
- Hyacinth beans: 400g
- Sugar: 200g
- Tapioca starch: 100g
- Pandan leaves: 3
- Coconut milk (optional)
- Soak hyacinth beans in warm water for 6 hours. It is better to soak the beans overnight.
- Steam the beans until tender but not mushy. It takes about 30 minutes.
- Mix tapioca starch with cold water.
- Cook 1-2l of water until boiling, add sugar and pandan leaves until the sugar is melted, throw out the pandan leaves.
- Add tapioca starch mixture and stir until the broth thickens.
- Add the steamed beans, stir carefully until the sweet soup boils for 1-2 minute.
- Serve the Hyacinth bean sweet soup with coconut milk.
Although you can cook this dessert at home, do not miss a big chance to taste outstandingly delicious Hyacinth bean sweet soup cooked and served by elegant Hue people on your trip to Hue. It is easy to find the sweet soup at sweet soup stalls in back alleyways or on the pavements of main streets, even at expensive traditional restaurants. The buttery hyacinth beans, the sweet gelatinous broth, the typical smell of pandan leaves and the greasy coconut milk blend wonderfully. The sweet soup is worth a try.