Friday 23 January 2015

Beans Revisited - Green Beans with Sweet Potatoes 绿豆番薯

All the frying during Chinese New Year can make one very "heaty" (a term often used by the Chinese to describe the excessive presence of "yang" element)! Normally, when I make Chinese New Year snacks, I would get a lot of ulcers due to the heat. Luckily, this time I am just in time to make myself some green beans "tong sui" (dessert). Green beans, according to the Chinese, are supposedly a very cooling medium (yin). In one's body, when there is excessive yang we have to balance it with yin in order to have perfect harmony and not get sick.

If you are weak, you might get dizzy if consume too much green beans as it is too cooling. According to my mom she cannot take green beans "tong sui" without getting dizzy. I never have this problem. Does this mean that I am strong? Now here is a tip for those who loves green beans but find it too cooling. Add a piece of ginger when making your green beans to balance off the cooling effect. But be forewarned. the green beans will have a gingery taste.

Tong sui is a cantonese word which means syrup water and is normally served as dessert. The Chinese has a penchant for eating grains in sugar water hence, the name tong sui. There are various types of tong sui. Suffice to say, these green beans that cook in syrup is one of the more popular tong sui. 

Right now, I am on fire and this green beans with sweet potatoes tong sui is just in time to put out whatever that is burning inside me. I simply love the taste of green beans with sweet potatoes. This recipe is from my previous shop's menu. It is really easy to make. Enjoy!

Green Beans with Sweet Potatoes


250 g green beans
2 litres water
3 pandan leaves
150 g sugar
30 g sago (small)
100 g sweet potatoes, cubed

Cooking Instruction

1. Wash green beans. Put green beans in a pot together with pandan leaves. Add water and bring to boil.

2. Lower fire to simmer and simmer until green beans becomes soft (took me about 35 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes of 1/2 inch size. Blanch sweet potatoes in boiling water. Remove and set aside.

4. Once green beans becomes almost soft, add in sago. Stir to avoid sago sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue to simmer until sago turns transparent, stirring occasionally to avoid the bottom getting burned.

5. Add sugar and sweet potatoes 5 minutes after adding sago and let simmer until sago is cooked and sweet potatoes become soft.

6. Turn off fire and serve hot.

You can precook the green beans by boiling the green beans for 10 minutes in boiling water. Turn off the heat and cover. The green beans will continue to cook and turn soft. Set aside for an hour or until when needed. When you need the green beans, just heat it up again and add all the other ingredients. Cook until sago turns transparent and serve.

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