Tau Suan, A Comforting Sleeper Dessert

Tau suan is one of those comforting dishes that you’d love if you grew up with it, but it’s not really something you crave – for me at least. I’ve not had tau suan for my three whole years of living abroad, and everytime we head home for a visit, tau suan doesn’t ever cross my mind. I prefer to save my stomach space for things like chendol or kueh! But we came across some youtiao at our Asian grocer, and I’ve been trying to incorporate more beans and grains into my diet lately – so tau suan it is! It must be one of the easiest local dishes to cook at home – once you take the time to soak the mung beans, the dessert comes together in under 30min. And a plus point of making it at home is you get to control every part of the dessert – how starchy it is, how sweet it is, how generous you are with the mung beans!

Tau Suan

Serves 2-3

4 pandan leaves

170g split mung beans, soaked 2 hours and drained

750g water

50g gula melaka, or more to taste

25-35g sweet potato starch, mixed with water

2 youtiao (Chinese donuts/ dough fritters), snipped with scissors

  1. Snip 2 pandan leaves onto a heatproof dish and mix with the drained mung beans
  2. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes – the mung beans should be tender but not mushy.
  3. Combine the water, gula melaka and remaining 2 pandan leaves in a pot. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the starch slurry to the syrup, stirring.
  5. Remove the snipped pandan leaves from the mung beans.
  6. Add the mung beans to the thickened syrup.
  7. Adjust with more starch slurry if necessary – err on the thinner side. (The mixture will thicken as it cools.)
  8. Dish out and snip the youtiao over the tausuan.


Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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