Red Bean Soup always reminds me of my kindergarten days at the PAP. It’s nostalgic in a sort of a bad way ‘cos I always remember it is the worst red bean soup in the world. Rather than having whole beans or even half beans, it’s just the shell of the red beans in a big bowl of rather translucent sweet water that has a tinge of red in it.
Red Bean Soup must be one of the simplest desserts in the world to prepare which probably explains why the Aunty at the PAP prepares it every week. Plus it’s cheap. There are really only three ingredients that you need and they are Red Beans, water and sugar. But of course you could make it a little more special by flavouring it with pandan leaves or dried orange peel. The more sophisticated would add sago and dried longans in it. But for the PAP kindergarten, water, sugar and Red Beans are all the ingredients they used. (In descending order of quantity)
But when you talk about the essential Red Bean Soup, there really are only two types. There is the type where you simply boil the beans in water to get a grainy soup with broken beans, ie the ones that mom used to make. Then there are the ones that have nice tender whole beans in a red cloudy soup, ie those that you buy at the hawker centre. Both are nice, but I think that the latter, ie the whole beans type take a little more skill to prepare. This is the classic Red Bean Soup sold at old dessert stalls such as this one which has fed our friend SCS Butter since the days before he was even churned into cream.
The little old lady at the stall has been cooking the same old Red Bean Soup for 40 years. When she first started, she was probably a head taller and wearing horn-rimmed spectacles and a beehive hairdo. She is so old school that she is still one of the few ladies around who still like to wear sleeveless grandma clothes. Hey, you might say “But she is a grandma what!” but you know, she is old fashioned by today’s grandma standards. My mom and mom-in-law are both grandmas and they certainly won’t wear sleeveless granny clothes.
Anyway, I think I am getting too carried away.