Auntie Christina’s Barley Green Bean Soup

Written by: Kampung Eats

s a peranakan, Auntie Christina loves preparing this traditional Malay-infused Chinese dish that does not only clear ‘heatiness’ but also acts as a dessert treat for her children at least once a month. Just like peranakan culture, this dish brings together the diversity of two cultures into one bowl. The dish is well-liked, especially by Auntie Christina’s children and extended family.

“Just like peranakan culture, this dish brings together the diversity of two cultures into one bowl.”

Unlike usual green bean soups, Auntie Christina incorporates gula melaka and coconut milk, enhancing the sweetness and creaminess of this dish. It is no wonder her children enjoy this dish so much! 

My sister and I preparing ingredients
Khao Yam, before mixing
Mr Chan
My dad, Chan

Auntie Christina mentions the Peranakan tradition of ‘Soja’, which means to bow or kneel as a form of respect towards elders. This tradition has been known to strengthen the family bond and respect, strongly reflecting the Peranakan culture. However, she shares that in her household, she prefers not to have her children kneel before her. Instead, she encourages a handshake gesture or a simple greeting to acknowledge the presence of the elders.

Nevertheless, while some cultural traditions change with time, Auntie Christina’s green bean soup will remain rooted in her family’s heritage.

Auntie Christina's Barley Green Bean Soup

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Course: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 125 grams green beans

  • 125 ml coconut milk

  • 40 grams sago

  • 120 grams gula melaka (palm sugar)

  • 1 stalk of pandan leaf

  • 1500 ml water


  • To prepare the green beans, soak them overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  • Drain the soaking water, rinse the green beans and remove its husk.
  • Wash and roughly chop the pandan leaves.
  • Add water into a pot. Add the green beans and pandan leaves. Leave to boil for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, place gula melaka into a pot over low heat with approximately 250ml of water until it melts.
  • Strain to remove residue from the gula melaka.
  • Once the green beans are boiled, add the sago and stir for around 3 mins.
  • Add the strained gula melaka and coconut milk.
  • Stir well before serving.

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With special thanks from the team at Kampung Eats to Auntie Christina and Lions Befrienders!

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