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Chinese Dessert – Red Beans and Barley With Milk Dessert


Red beans and barley dessert is a famous Chinese dessert (“tang sui” or “tong sui” in Chinese) which basically consist of red beans, barley, sugar and milk. This dessert can be served hot or cold. Although it is relatively easy to cook, it will take some time for it to boil till soft.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup red beans (soaked in cold water overnight)
  • 1 panda nus leaf /skrewpine leaf (tie into a knot)
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk


1. Add 2 cups of water, 1 cup of red beans, 1/4 cup of barley and 1 pandanus leaf in a pot. Bring them to a boil. You may want to soak the red bean and barley overnight if you want it to be cook(soften) faster.

2. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the mixture of red beans and barley are tender for about 2 hours.

3. Add 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of sugar into the pot. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. You remove the heat from the pot and leave it to cool down for about 10 minutes.

4. You may serve it hot or cold depending on your preferences. If you prefer to serve it cold, leave it to cool down for another 15 minutes and then put it in the refrigerator. The additional 15 minutes cooling time is required so that the heat does not spoil other items stored in the refrigerator.


Replace white sugar with brown sugar. It will taste better.

If you are not able to find pandanus leaf, you may replace it with dried orange peel. This dry orange peel is easily found in any Chinese herbal/medicine shops.

If you do not like milk or lactose intolerant, just replace it with plain water.

For more cooking tips, recipes and pictures of the dessert, visit the author’s Asian recipe blog

Source by Margaret H

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