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REC: Chinese Dessert

Someone asked for recipes for Chinese desserts in rec.food.cooking, and I
had contributed this recipe. Since it's VLF, I thought you guys might like
it too.

Cantonese people love red bean soup, almost all Cantonese restaurants &
restaurants in Hong Kong serve this. I made my very first pot of red bean
soup when I was 12 for my beloved grandmother, it was "untaught" and I had
whipped up the whole thing based on taste and a careful eye - no recipe, no
help in the kitchen... my grandmother was delighted with the bowl of
dessert I had "proudly" presented her... it was the only way I knew (then)
of expressing my love & filial piety towards her. 

Red Bean Soup

2 c red beans (in the stores here, they're tiny - smaller than peas, deep
even red colour & has a "closed split" across them)
3/4 to 1 c lotus seeds (check with your Chinese grocer)
1 c sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp McCormick's orange rinds
a few stalks of pandan leaves*

Soak beans in a bowl of water for an hour, drain.

Soak lotus seeds for an hour, drain, split into half, remove interior green
(will taste bitter if used) STALKS, some seeds dun have these, dun panic if
you can't find it!

Boil 6 c water, pandan leaves in a huge saucepan and let the beans boil in
a low simmer with lid slightly opened for about 2 hours till they split,
become soft and ultimately disintegrate... add more water as you go along
so it doesn't turn into a thick mass... it should have the thickness of
tomato soup and should be creamy dull red in colour with bits and pieces of
the remnants of the red beans for a little texture. Add lotus seeds (now in
halves) after the first 1/2 hour.When ready, add sugar to taste (loads of

Remove pandan leaves, ladle into bowls, serve warm.

*Pandan leaves - check with your grocer... my grandma had "awarded" my bowl
of red bean dessert 9 out of 10 marks back then, she had it would have
scored a perfect 10 if I had known to add in the pandan leaves... it really
brings out the flavour of ANY local dessert. Enjoy!!