Hong-Kong-Style Red Bean Shaved Ice (港式红豆冰 Gang Shi Hong Dou Bing)
July 16, 2022  Print
The Hong-Kong-style red bean shaved ice drink is a layered drink with semi-liquid soft and sweetened red beans on the bottom, topped with shaved ice and evaporated milk. It’s one of the most iconic food items in Hong-Kong-style cafes (Cha Chaan Teng 港式茶餐厅). Before I first visited HK in the early 90’s, I never had anything like it. This was so even though red beans are commonplace in Chinese cuisines. I grew up eating buns and porridge made with red beans. But combining red beans with dairy products in a drink was uniquely Hong Kong. It was one of the numerous culture products resulting from British colonization of HK in much of the 20’s century, which brought western influence into Hong Kong’s eastern culture.
You can also use mung beans to make a mung bean shaved ice drink. It will taste somewhat similar. My kids love both the red bean and mung bean shaved ice. It’s sweet, creamy, cold, with an interesting texture of soft beans. Since it’s homemade, you can alter the amount of sugar and ice based on your own preference.
I was inspired to make these due to the record high temperatures in Texas. I have been making more icy treats and desserts to combat the heat. I had a good amount of cooked mung bean left over from making Mung Bean Soup/Porridge and Creamy Mung Bean Popsicles, so I used the cooked soft mung beans and made them into the mung bean version, Mung Bean Shaved Ice (绿豆冰). But the recipe below focuses on red beans.
Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Preparation Time: 1 hour 2
Total Time: ~1 hour
Servings: ~4 drinks
- 2/3 cup red beans 1
- 2 cups water (Instant Pot Version) or 2.5 cups (Non Instant Pot Version)
- 1/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups ice
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- Instant Pot Version: Rinse the red beans thoroughly. Add the red beans and 2 cups of water to an Instant Pot. Close and lock the instant pot lid. Make sure the steam valve points towards “sealing,” and not “venting.” Press the “Porridge” button on the Instant Pot and set the timer to 45-50 minutes. When the Instant Pot is done cooking the red beans, it will switch to the “Keep Warm” mode automatically. You can use a utensil to manually switch the valve to the “Venting” position to let out the steam. (WARNING: Never use your hand to turn the valve as the steam will be hot. ALWAYS follow all safety instructions that come with your particular Instant Pot.) Optionally: if you are not pressed for time, wait 15-20 minutes until the Instant Pot naturally releases pressure. No matter the method, be sure to wait until the little floater next to the valve drops down before opening the lid.
- Non Instant Pot Version: Rinse the red beans thoroughly. Soak the red beans for at least 3 hours. Put the red beans in a medium sauce pan. Add 2.5 cups of water to the sauce pan. Set the heat to medium-high. When the water boils (about 10 minutes), cover the lid and lower the heat to medium- low or low and simmer for at least 45 minutes or until beans are soften.
- Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the cooked red beans, mixing thoroughly. Let it cool completely before using. (Can also be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
- Add ~4 cups of ice to a blender. Blend on medium or high to make shaved ice.
- In a measurement cup with a spout, add 1 cup of evaporated milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved. If making only 2 drinks, use 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- To make one HK Style Red Bean Shaved Ice: In a glass cup (at least 2 cups or 16 oz in size), first add half a cup of mixed red beans along with its liquid. Then add about 1 cup of shaved ice on top. Pour 1/4 cup of sweetened evaporated milk evenly on the shaved ice. Mix well and enjoy!
- If you use the small type of red beans, you can reduce the cooking time to 30 minutes for both the Instant Pot and regular pot version. You can also use mung beans instead of red beans.
- This is the preparation time for the Instant Pot version.
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