Bubur Kacang Hijau (sweet mung bean soup)

Ever since I mentioned one comfort food Hall of Fame winner, I’ve been wracked with guilt for leaving out the others. I know most people who grew up outside of SE Asia won’t understand my avocado smoothie fetish, and they may not get this sweet mung bean soup either, but oh well. Haters gonna hate, and it’s really too delicious not to share.

It’s a fairy-tale, really. Simmered with fragrant fresh ginger and smoky coconut palm sugar, the humble mung bean is transformed. In my imagination, it metamorphoses not into Cinderella but Nigella Lawson — cozy, homey, voluptuous. And a tad mischievous, thanks to the pop of star anise (remember my Rhubarb & Anise Syrup?). A swirl of thick coconut cream is the crowning glory.

The mung bean is easily digested by the body and is an excellent low-fat source of protein, fibre, and folate (vital for preggos and aspiring preggos). Its glycemic index (GI) is lower than even oatmeal, meaning that it raises blood sugar slowly over a longer period of time, keeping you feeling full longer. It’s a superior choice for breakfast. I love it at any time of day.

Bubur Kacang Hijau (sweet mung bean soup)

Serves 6


220 g (1 cup) dry green mung beans

2″ knob of ginger, peeled and roughly sliced

1 tablespoon whole star anise pods, in a cheesecloth knot or tea infuser

150 g (3/4 cup, packed) pure coconut palm sugar, chopped

1.5 liters (6 cups) water


Coconut cream, to serve


Put all the ingredients except the coconut cream into a medium-sized soup pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the mung beans have completely softened and begun to disintegrate.

Serve hot, with plenty of coconut cream swirled in. It’s equally marvelous the next day, chilled. I’ve even been known to inhale a small bowl in lieu of a midnight kebab after a show. (But that’s between us, savvy?)