we’ve never brought dessert to a party before. so what better way to pop that proverbial cherry than bringing a dessert soup to fiesta friday.
i (jun) don’t usually eat dessert. but i like this one for some particular reason. maybe because i’m a big fan of seaweed, or maybe it’s that my mom used to make this a lot when i was a child. whatever it is, i like it, and i can eat a large bowl or two in one sitting.
there is one ingredient that really gives this dessert a unique taste. in chinese, it’s called 臭草, which literally translates to “stink grass.” i googled it to see if there was a proper english name. it turns out there is, it’s called “rue”. although the name “epozate” also came up. don’t worry, i have no idea what that is either. what i can describe is that it’s very pungent, yet fragrant at the same time. the closest resembling smell that comes to mind is a marigold leaf. it has a medicinal taste, with mild hints of sweet and spicy notes. and oddly enough, it kinda tastes like mung beans. which is why i think people threw this herb into the dessert in the first place.
if you can’t find this herb, don’t sweat it, you can do without it. it’s actually quite hard to find. we had to go through several wet markets to hunt down this elusive plant. some people substitute it with dried orange peel instead. as for the dried seaweed (kelp), just remember that a little goes a long way.
mung beans 1 cup dry
dried seaweed 1/2 cup
rock sugar 1/4 cup
臭草 stink grass 2 sprigs (optional)
- soak the beans and dried seaweed for at least an hr
- strain the beans and seaweed, cut the seaweed into thin strips
- in a pot of water, bring about 2 liters of water to a boil and toss in the mung beans
- turn heat to low-medium and cook until beans are broken down, about 45-50 min (you want the beans to be fully broken down so it thickens the liquid)
- when cooked, add the chopped seaweed, stink grass, and rock sugar (it helps to first break the sugar down into tiny pieces)
- simmer for a few min to fully dissolve the sugar, remove the stink grass
- can be served hot or cold (we prefer cold)