Mandarin oranges, tangerines, and clementines are the most popular and abundant fruits during the Chinese New Year. The Cantonese pronunciation of this fruit is “kam” which sounds like gold, a symbol of wealth and prosperity. One would always bring an even number of mandarin oranges as a gift when visiting family and friends because good things are supposed to come in pairs. Odd numbers are avoided for auspicious occasions.
Some orange peel are often saved and dried for use in sweet desserts. The most popular is the delicious red bean soup with lotus seeds. The red beans used are those of the smaller variety. They are sometimes referred to as adzuki beans.
Glutinous or sticky rice is a type of short grain Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It does not contain gluten as suggested by its name. The word “glutinous” actually refers to its stickiness. This rice comes in two varieties, white and black. The white variety is more popular and is often ground into flour and used in many sweet Asian desserts. The black variety is a separate strain and is not as easily available. The grains are unevenly colored and look like wild rice. When soaked, the water will turn a deep purple color. This rice is primarily used in sweet desserts.
My mom often cook her sweet red bean soup with black sticky rice and coconut cream. She would boil the red beans, black sticky rice, and pandan (screwpine) leaves together until they become a rich thick soup. The pandan leaves give the soup a nice fragrant scent. Coconut cream is only added at the end or sometimes served as a side and added if desired. For this recipe, I used clementine peel instead of the pandan leaves and served the coconut cream as a side.
- 1 cup (200g) red beans (adzuki beans), washed and soaked for 2 - 3 hours
- ¼ cup (40g) black glutinous rice (sweet rice), washed and drained
- ½ cup (110g) sugar or to taste
- 2 - 3 slices dried tangerine peel
- 6 cups (1.5 liters) water
- ½ cup (120ml) coconut cream
- A pinch of salt
Bring coconut cream to a gentle boil, add a pinch of salt. Turn off heat. Remove and let cool.
Put red beans, glutinous rice, tangerine peel, and water in a medium size pot. Bring to boil, add sugar.
Reduce heat and let simmer for about 2 hours or until beans are soft. Stir every now and then to prevent beans from sticking to the base of pot. Add more water if necessary.
Serve warm with coconut cream.
NOTE: This post was updated on April 25th, 2013 with new pictures. Recipe remains unchanged.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!