Sweet Mung Bean Soup

This versatile dish is the prefect antidote to all the over-indulgences of the silly season. Tried and tested, this recipe was given to me by my gorgeous father-in-law who has been making this hydrating and nutritious sweet dessert-soup (known in Cantonese as lucdousa) for more than 30 years.

Traditionally the Chinese enjoy this soup after a meal, or between courses but you’ll find my in-laws, myself and our toddler sons tucking into a big bowl for breakfast or for a late lunch. Full of fibre, folate, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin C (which as we know improves iron absorption). It makes plenty, which is just as well, because you’ll be going back for more, especially after a big workout, or day at the beach.

Lucdousa_ingredients
Lucdousa1

What you’ll need: (you’ll find eveything you need at any good Asian grocer)
2 cups of whole dried mung beans (Hepai)
1 cup of black-eyed beans
3-4 ltrs of water
1/4 cup which equates to roughly 10 tapioca sticks or flakes broken into one-inch pieces also known as (Bot Khoai Dai)

Tapioca_2

1/4 cup of tapioca pearls
1 and a half to two cups of organic raw sugar (start with less, you can always add more)
1/4 cup of shredded seaweed (Hoitai) 

Utensils:
Large pot
Small and large colander
Measuring cups
1 litre measuring jug
Wooden spoon

How to prepare:
Put mung bean and black-eyed beans into a large pot, cover with water and soak for 1 hour

Break up tapioca sticks into one-inch pieces and soak for 1 hour

Drain pot of beans and refill with 3 litres (you may use the 4th litre later) of fresh water.  Bring beans to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer cooking them for 30-mins or until soft

Meanwhile thoroughly wash and untangle seaweed in a small pot, to remove any possible sand (don’t soak the seaweed as you will loose the nutritional content) then drain in a small colander and set aside

When beans are al-dente add pre-soaked tapioca sticks

When beans are soft quickly rinse and drain tapioca pearls using your small colander

Then add them, your prewashed seaweed and the sugar stirring all three into the beans. Turn off the heat, then cover for 10 mins then eat

You’ll know you got this dish spot on if the tapioca pearls are transparent, if the soup is sweet and if there is ample liquid.  If this is not the case, just add another litre of water, a little more sugar and allow dish to sit for another 10 minutes

Once you have mastered this dish, you can adjust the amount of beans, tapioca or sugar content to your preferred taste.  You may also like to cut your shredded seaweed down a bit (into smaller pieces), that’s the way I like it

This dish can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days

Nut and Date Truffles

Inspired by my friend Jacqui’s love of Medjool dates, I’ve created this gorgeous truffle recipe, which is great fun to make with the kids.

These make a perfect protein-rich snack for toddlers and teenagers alike. They are an impressive addition to any picnic hamper and make quite the impression when served with (chocolate) Co Yo coconut ice cream and fresh fruit as part of a dessert tasting plate.

Nut and date truffles

What you’ll need: (makes 20)
200g Medjool dates (this equates to about 8 dates)
100g raw almonds
2  teaspoons of cacao powder
(I use Cacao Gold from Power Super Foods which supports conservation initiatives and organic technical education programs in Ecuador. Available at all good health food stores)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
(I like to use a combination of both black and white chia seeds)
Desiccated coconut to coat your truffles

Medjool dates and almonds
Did you know…

Dates are rich in potassium, with a high iron content. They are a good source of protein, dietary fibre and packed with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.  Free from cholesterol and very low fat, they are the perfect energy booster.

Chia seeds are the highest known plant source of omega 3’s, also rich in protein and fibre.

Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, plums and peaches. Among other things, almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine; nutrients that boost brain activity and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The phosphorus in almonds helps build strong bones and teeth.

Cacao is a type of tropical tree that produces the world’s chocolate in raw form, before fat, sugar, and other ‘sweeteners’ are added. Packed with vitamins, essential minerals and antioxidants, the cacao tree grows in a few specific regions of the world, including Mexico and South America, where most of the cacao or chocolate beans/seeds come from.

How to prepare:
De-pip Mejool dates by hand and place them in your blender/Thermomix
Add almonds and chia seeds
Chop for 8 seconds on speed 9
Scrape down sides of your blender and chop again for 10 seconds on speed 9
If using a blender, ‘blitz’ until your truffle mixture is a mostly smooth consistency
Truffle mixUsing a tablespoon, spoon some mixture into your hand
Roll it to form a small truffle, then drop it into the plate of coconut and roll the truffle around until fully coated
Your truffles will need to be refrigerated in an airtight container and are good for 10 days. Serve at room temperature.

If you’ve enjoyed my recipe, please leave a comment for other followers to get inspired!