Chinese Sweet Soups and Desserts

> Chinese sweet soups

There is a whole range of Chinese sweet soups available. There are traditional favourites as well as new recipes popping up all the time.

My personal favourite, especially during hot stuffy weather is 清汤 (qing tang). It literally means refreshing soup.

It contains dried longan, barley, gelatin strips, cloud ear fungus and more. There are 2 versions: hot and ice cold. I like both and my choice depends on my mood and the weather. Too bad, I don't know how to make it myself.

As with most chinese soups, sweet soups are mostly simmered for a fairly long time for flavour.

These soups are great as summer low fat desserts. Most are light and refreshing. Some people I know HAVE to end off their meals with something sweet. What could be more ideal than a low-fat chinese dessert?

There are many chinese dessert stalls in Singapore. Almost all our hawker centres spot 1 or 2 dessert shops. They sell an assortment of sweet desserts mostly soupy offerings. Just look at this lightbox display of common chinese desserts offered by a dessert store in a food centre.

I have the recipes to a few of the items listed below:

1. Green bean soup recipe

This green bean soup is one of the most familiar sweet dessert in Singapore. It is also quite easy to make at home. Brew a pot to ease the discomfort arising from a hot summer.

The star ingredient is of course green beans. It has long been cultivated in China for it has both medicinal and nutritional value.

In traditional chinese medicine, green beans are considered cool and bitter. It is widely used for detoxification and to treat summer heat. People tend to perspire a lot during summer and drinking green bean soup is considered a great way to replenish fluids and trace elements lost through perspiration. It also promotes healthy urination and bowel movements, and is supposedly a good remedy for acne caused by a heaty constitution. Regular consumption is recommended during the summer months.

Green beans are also a popular sweet filling for asian pastries especially Japanese and Chinese. However, the process of cooking and grinding the beans into a smooth paste can be very tedious.

Incidentally, green beans are also used to grow bean sprouts.


  • 60g green beans
  • 100g glutinous rice
  • Sugar/Brown sugar/honey (optional)


  1. Wash and soak the green beans in warm water for about 30 minutes
  2. Wash the glutinous rice thoroughly
  3. Place the beans and rice in a rice cooker and cook till done
  4. Add some sugar if you find the soup bland. You can try brown sugar or even honey

2. Red bean soup recipe

Red beans are generally used for detox and fluid retention. It is also known to encourage breast milk production. Red beans are suitable for women having their menstruation. It relieves cramps and together with the glutinous rice, warms the body.

Similar to green beans, red beans are commonly used in soups and congee or make into a sweet paste that become fillings for pastries and desserts.

This red bean soup recipe has only 2 ingredients. If you find this soup bland, you can add some brown sugar to taste.


  • 60g red beans
  • 100g glutinous rice


  1. Wash and soak the red beans in warm water for about 30 minutes
  2. Wash the glutinous rice thoroughly
  3. Place the beans and rice in a rice cooker and cook till done

3. White fungus soup

White fungus is also known as cloud ear fungus 白木耳 (bai mu er). This sweet soup is suitable for 1 year old and above.


  • 30g cloud ear fungus
  • 10g goji berries
  • 30g lotus seeds
  • 5 red dates
  • 5 slices chinese yam
  • 2 tbsp rock sugar


  1. Wash the cloud ear fungus and soak in water until re-hydrated
  2. Cut the fungus into smaller pieces
  3. Rinse the goji berries, lotus seeds, red dates and chinese yam
  4. Place the chinese herbs and the cloud ear fungus together in a pot
  5. Add 1 litre of water, bring it to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer for 2 hours
  6. Add the rock sugar and stil till it dissolved

4. Fruit soup with white fungus

This is a recipe with a modern twist. It is good for the lungs, especially if you have a dry cough without phlegm and thirst.


  • 50g white fungus
  • 3 egg whites
  • 5 pieces of tangerine
  • 15g kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 15g banana, thinly sliced
  • 300ml water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Cornstarch solution


  1. Wash and soak the white fungus in warm water till it is soft
  2. Wash and soak the white fungus in warm water till it is soft
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and cook the fungus until it is soft
  4. Add the sugar and stir till dissolved
  5. Bring the soup back to a boil
  6. Stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the soup
  7. Add the egg white slowly and stir the soup to break up any clumps
  8. Add the tangerine pieces, kiwi slices and banana slices
  9. Cook for a further 1 minute before serving

Other sweet soup dessert recipes

  1. Cream of Poria
  2. Lily bulb and goji berries
  3. Lily bulb and lotus seed soup
  4. Red date congee
  5. Red date and longan soup 

Happy Souping, Phoebe