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Thai Luk Chup Recipe (Mung Bean Dessert)

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Thai luk chup recipe – everyone’s favorite vegan and gluten-free mung bean dessert. It’s a traditional Thai delight that’s easy, fun, and oh-so-delicious. These mini fruit snacks are a total treat, so creamy and so sweet, they’re my idea of a good time in the kitchen!

Colorful Thai luk chup mung bean dessert shaped like fruits and vegetables in a woven basket on a banana leaf background.

Make sure to check out my other Thai fruit desserts that are equally delicious but quicker to make – agar-agar jelly recipe with fruits and authentic Thai mango sticky rice recipe.

What is luk chup

Luk chup is a traditional Thai dessert made from mung beans, coconut milk, and agar-agar. These ingredients are shaped into mini fruits and coated in a gelatin-like layer, for a sweet and creamy treat.

Origin of luk chup

Luk chup originated in Thailand, inspired by Portuguese marzipan. It was brought to the Thai royal court by Maria Guyomar de Pinha in the 1600s, and was once a treat reserved for the royal family and members of the royal palace.

Thai mung bean dessert recipe

Thai khanom luk chup tastes sweet and creamy, with a hint of coconut milk and a jelly-like texture from the agar-agar. They’re miniature shapes of fruits and vegetables like chilies, oranges, mangoes, bananas, etc.

It starts with mung beans, mashed into a smooth paste, sweetened, and mixed with coconut milk. After the mixture is cooked until thick, it’s shaped into cute mini fruits, and glazed in a shiny agar-agar jelly.

Colorful Thai luk chup dessert assortment shaped in fruits and vegetables displayed on a bamboo basket atop banana leaves.

Each tiny piece of look choop or Thai mung bean sweets is like a work of art. So get the kids and the fam, it’s play time in the kitchen!

Molding these miniature fruit shapes is so much fun, it’s like you’re a kid again, and the end result is absolutely mouthwatering.

It’s one of the cutest desserts you’ll ever lay your eyes on. They’re so pretty, so shiny, you’ll almost want to keep them forever!

Handcrafted Thai luk chup mung bean sweets arranged in a bamboo basket.

Whipping up this Thai dessert always takes me back to being a little kid in my grandma’s kitchen, where we’d laugh and squish these into cute fruit shapes – those were the best days.

Why try this Thai fruit dessert

  • Perfect for special occasions: In Thailand, luk chup is reserved for special occasions like weddings, festivals, or special gatherings. Gift these treats at your next events and watch the smiles unfold.
  • Great for everyone: This traditional Thai fruit-shaped dessert is the perfect option for vegans and those on a gluten-free diet. Bring these to a party and watch everyone enjoy!
  • Unique flavors: The combo of sweet mung beans and creamy coconut milk creates a unique taste and texture.
  • Get creative: Shape them, color them, make each piece uniquely yours!

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients for Thai luk chup dessert are arranged on banana leaves with labeling for mung beans, agar-agar powder, sugar, salt, coconut milk, water, and food coloring.

Mung bean paste

  • Peeled-split mung beans – These mung beans have been peeled and split, making them easier to quick. They’re essential for creating a smooth, fine paste for luk chup. They’re perfect for desserts like these fruit shaped mung beans, as they take on a slightly sweet taste when cooked.
  • Coconut milk – Brings a rich, creamy texture that balances the flavors and provides a smoothness to the paste.
  • White sugar – For sweetening and creating a balance between sweet and savory.
  • Salt – Enhances the overall flavors, ensuring the sweetness isn’t overwhelming.

Coating

  • Agar-agar powder – Agar-agar powder is a vegan, plant-based gelatin substitute made from seaweed. It creates a shiny, jelly-like coating.
  • White sugar
  • Water – Water is mixed with agar-agar powder to form the coating.

Decorating

  • Food coloring – Dye your fruit and vegetable shapes, the more colors, the merrier!
  • Water – For mixing with the food coloring.

Craving more? Take a look at my other Thai dessert recipes!

How it’s made

Prepare mung bean dough

Step-by-step cooking process for mung bean dough showing the dough prepped for mashing, strained through cheesecloth, mixed, and spread out for shaping.

1. Rinse the mung beans until the water runs clear, ensuring all the yellow food coloring is gone. Soak them for a minimum of three hours, then drain and place them in a cheesecloth within a steamer.

2. Wrap the cheesecloth, and then steam on medium heat. In about 20 minutes, they should be soft.

3. After steaming, let the mung beans sit out until cooled to room temperature.

4. Pour coconut milk into a food processor, followed by steamed mung beans, salt, and sugar. Blend until you get a really smooth consistency.

5. Transfer the mixture to a pan on low heat. Stir and fold the purée continuously for around 20 minutes, until it turns into a paste that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or your stirring tool.

Shaping and coloring

Progression of Thai Luk Chup preparation: from kneading the mung bean dough, shaping into fruits, to painting with food coloring, and finally displaying the finished colorful dessert pieces on a banana leaf.

6. Let the mung bean purée cool down to room temperature, move it to a plastic bag, and knead well into a smooth consistency, for about two minutes.

7. Take a small portion of about 7 grams and roll that into a ball. From there, mold into a fruit or vegetable shape, like a chili or tomato. Keep your creations under a tea towel or in a sealed container to prevent them from drying out. Meanwhile, prep the agar-agar mixture. In a small pot, combine the agar-agar powder with water and let it stand for 15 minutes.

8. Put the food coloring you’re using in a small mixing bowl like a sauce cup and add water to achieve the desired color. Skewer the base of your shaped fruits and use a fine brush to add color. Place them on foam or anything similar to dry as you work on the rest.

Glazing

Glazing process for Thai luk chup: agar-agar mixture simmering, removing foam, and giving the fruits a glaze.

9. Place the pre-soaked agar-agar and water mixture on the stove over a medium flame. Stir in sugar and bring the mixture to a full boil. Ensure the agar-agar has completely dissolved before removing from heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

10. Before starting, skim off any froth or bubbles from the surface.

11. With the fruits you painted first, dip each one into the agar-agar mixture, then swiftly turn them so any excess drips off the skewer. Place them back onto the foam to set. Apply a second layer by repeating the dipping process.

Monitor the agar-agar’s temperature; if it cools too much, it may clump. Reheat gently for a smooth consistency if needed.

12. After the second coat is dry, pull out the skewers. You can apply extra coatings if desired. Add tiny leaves on top to mimic real fruit if desired, and your luk chup is ready to be served!

Kitchen tools

How to serve

This Thai dessert is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled. Artfully arrange them on a platter before serving. They’re great on their own and a great addition to other desserts at gatherings.

How to store

Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh for up to three days. Avoid freezing. When you’re ready to eat, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature for the best texture.

Frequently asked questions

What are the shapes of luk chup?

Luk chup is traditionally shaped into miniature versions of fruits and vegetables. Common shapes include tiny bananas, chilies, mangoes, oranges, and more. You can get creative and shape them into anything you like.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, you can prepare this dessert in advance and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready.

Can I use different beans instead of mung beans?

Mung beans are preferred for their unique texture and flavor. In Thailand, we always use mung beans, so I have not yet experimented with other types of beans.

Help, after washing the mung beans, the water turns yellow!

This is normal, it’s the yellow food coloring added to the beans. It’s important to wash the mung beans several times before using them!

Can I use whole mung beans?

Avoid using whole mung beans and use shelled and split beans instead.

Can I use gelatin instead of agar-agar?

No, Thai desserts almost always call for agar-agar because it can set at room temperature. Gelatin cannot set at room temperature.

How long does it take to make luk chup?

Making luk chup can be quite time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth the effort! It takes about 3–4 hours to prepare, including the shaping and decorating time. It’s a labor of love!

More Thai dessert recipes you’ll love

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Thai Luk Chup Recipe (Mung Bean Dessert)

Prep Time 3 hour Cook Time 50 min Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 100

Description

Shape your own miniature fruits and veggies, luk chup is a sweet and delicious dessert that's as fun to create as it is to eat!

Ingredients

Mung bean paste

Coating

Decorating

Instructions

  1. Prepare mung bean dough

    Rinse the mung beans until the water runs clear, ensuring all the yellow food coloring is gone. Soak them for a minimum of three hours, then drain and place them in a cheesecloth within a steamer.

  2. Wrap the cheesecloth, and then steam on medium heat. In about 20 minutes, they should be soft.
  3. After steaming, let the mung beans sit out until cooled to room temperature.

  4. Pour coconut milk into a food processor, followed by steamed mung beans, salt, and sugar. Blend until you get a really smooth consistency.

  5. Transfer the mixture to a pan on low heat. Stir and fold the purée continuously for around 20 minutes, until it turns into a paste that doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or your stirring tool.

Shaping and coloring

  1. Let the mung bean purée cool down to room temperature, move it to a plastic bag, and knead well into a smooth consistency, for about two minutes.

  2. Take a small portion of about 7 grams and roll that into a ball. From there, mold into a fruit or vegetable shape, like a chili or tomato. Keep your creations under a tea towel or in a sealed container to prevent them from drying out.

  3. Meanwhile, prep the agar-agar mixture. In a small pot, combine the agar-agar powder with water and let it stand for 15 minutes.

  4. Put the food coloring you’re using in a small mixing bowl like a sauce cup and add water to achieve the desired color. Skewer the base of your shaped fruits and use a fine brush to add color. Place them on foam or anything similar to dry as you work on the rest.

Glazing

  1. Place the pre-soaked agar-agar and water mixture on the stove over a medium flame. Stir in sugar and bring the mixture to a full boil. Ensure the agar-agar has completely dissolved before removing from heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

  2. Before starting, skim off any froth or bubbles from the surface.

  3. With the fruits you painted first, dip each one into the agar-agar mixture, then swiftly turn them so any excess drips off the skewer. Place them back onto the foam to set. Apply a second layer by repeating the dipping process.

    Monitor the agar-agar's temperature; if it cools too much, it may clump. Reheat gently for a smooth consistency if needed.

  4. After the second coat is dry, pull out the skewers. You can apply extra coatings if desired. Add tiny leaves on top to mimic real fruit if desired, and your luk chup is ready to be served!

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Luk chup is traditionally shaped into miniature versions of fruits and vegetables. Common shapes include tiny bananas, chilies, mangoes, oranges, and more. You can get creative and shape them into anything you like.
  • Making luk chup can be quite time-consuming, but it's definitely worth the effort!
Keywords: luk chup, luk chup recipe, mung bean dessert
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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