The part in the mung bean that gives the detox and cooling effects (清熱解毒) is actually the skin, and its medicinal properties diminish when you cook them for too long. Those who have made mung bean soup will recall that the colour starts off as a bright, clear yellow-green and gradually becomes darker and cloudier after half an hour or so. For this reason, if you want to exploit mung bean's medicinal properties, it's best to cook them very briefly and drain the beans while the soup is still a bright yellow-green. If you continue to cook the beans as you would for mung bean soup, they'd lose much of their detox and cooling properties, but would still help with getting rid of excess liquid and toxins in your digestive tracts (健脾祛濕). If you soak the beans for a few days, they'd transform into bean sprouts (綠豆芽) which are extremely high in vitamin C and full of essential amino acids. A real superfood!
Since mung beans are 'cooling' (性寒) in nature, they're best for summer and less so for autumn or winter. The past week has been getting warmer and warmer as if autumn was quietly slipping away for a second summer, so maybe this drink wasn't so untimely after all.
If you feel that your body is 'heaty' (熱氣) and are suffering from a sore throat or ulcers in your mouth, this drink would really help. Obviously don't drink an excessive amount since it's quite 'cool' (性寒), especially if you haven't been digesting well. The taste of mung beans may be somewhat of an acquired taste for non-Chinese people, but it's definitely worth giving a try!
1. In a large bowl, soak the mung beans in cold water for a few hours - not too long or they will start sprouting!
2. Drain the soaked beans in a colander.
3. Place them in a large pan with plenty of water to cover. The exact ratio doesn't really matter and it depends on how strong a taste you want. I would suggest at least one part beans to ten parts water.
3. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. The beans should still be intact. Immediately drain the soup through a colander and remove the beans. Sweeten the water minimally with sugar. The leftover beans could be used to make mung bean soup (綠豆湯).
|The beans should still be intact at the end of the brief cooking.|