Sweet Mung Bean Dessert (Bubur Kacang Hijau, Sort of)

I like to keep a batch of cooked sweetened mung beans (綠豆; lǔdòu) in my fridge at the ready. It’s cheap, filling, quick and easy to cook, and nutritious with protein and fiber. It also requires no prep when you’re ready to eat it; just scoop it into a bowl cold. It’s my crutch for when I’m too lazy/too hungry to cook yet too virtuous to go buy something, so I’m usually eating it for breakfast, as a between-meal snack, or dessert.

When I want to make it a dessert, I favor a preparation that’s pretty close to an Indonesian dish called bubur kacang hijau, or “burjo” for short. At its most basic, burjo is mung beans boiled with coconut milk and palm sugar. It’s common to add other ingredients including ginger, pandan leaf, and black glutinous rice.

Personally, I prefer it served cold. And I like it on the dry side, meaning without a lot of water and without boiling the beans to oblivion. You can try this preparation, but it might be a stretch to really call it burjo. It’s just a sweet mung bean dessert. You will need:

  • Mung beans, dry
  • Water
  • Sugar or honey
  • Ginger, peeled and sliced or grated
  • Coconut milk
  1. Rinse the mung beans to remove any dirt. Soak them in water for 2-4 hours. Before cooking, drain and discard the soak water.
  2. Put the beans in a pot. Add enough water to cover them, plus about 1 inch (3 cm) more. Bring it to a boil.
  3. While it is boiling, skim off any scum that gathers at the top. Add sugar or honey to taste (I like it barely sweet). Add the ginger to taste (two or three thick slices will do). Stir occasionally.
  4. Boil until the beans start to get soft, and some start to split and lose their skins. Remove from heat and let the pot sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. Store it in the refrigerator.
  6. When ready to serve, add coconut milk to taste.

Some notes:
– You don’t need measurements because it’s all to taste and it’s very forgiving. Go wild.
– Soaking the mung beans beforehand is optional. I recommend it because it speeds cooking time, and it removes some of the color from the beans, which makes the end result less muddy-looking.
– Pretty much any kind of sugar—white, brown, black, rock, etc.—will work.

Mung beans soaking.

 

Cover with water plus a little more. I like for most of the water to be gone by the time the beans are soft.

 

Most of the water has been absorbed and evaporated away. There’s enough left to keep the beans from burning. Um, I promise the pot is clean (just stained).

 

Pouring coconut milk over the beans.

 

Cool, creamy, slightly sweet. Ready to eat.

 

References
“Bubur kacang hijau” – Wikipedia