Making red bean Chinese New Year cake
This is a must-have cake during Chinese New Years. I suppose most Chinese families were probably poor in the past and even eggs are considered luxuries. This might be why I hardly see any Chinese dessert recipes that contain eggs. Americans tend to turn their noses at desserts made with beans, rice, and other odd legume or grains. But these are common ingredients in Chinese diet that most people can afford. Rice is therefore made into a variety of products -- steamed as usual, fried into crispy cakes, long-cooked into congees, powderized and made into all sorts of pasties. Also, the Chinese medicinal thinking dictates that all that we eat influences our bodies. All foods are considered to have medicinal values. Certain foods are eaten during holidays and are very seasonal. Red beans, or azuki beans, are commonly used in desserts for the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.
For the cake, one must first make the sweetened red beans. This should be distinguished from red bean paste. The former is not filtered. the beans are still mostly holding their shape, and their integrity is largely intact. The latter is passed through sieves to rid of the shells, and usually heated to get rid of the water, and lard/oil added.
Both recipes are from 阿芳的糕與粿
Sweetened red beans (makes about 3 and 1/2 cups)
600 g red beans
600 g light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1. Place red beans, not washed, not soaked, in a bowl and add enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil. Discard the liquid and any floating beans. Drain the rest of beans completely.
2. Add 6 and 1/2 cups of water. Place into a rice cooker. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water in the outer pot. Start the rice cooker. Wait 5 minutes after the switch is tripped. Use a chopstick to stir the beans a bit. Add another 1 cup of water to the outer pot. Cook again. Wait for 10 minutes after the switch is tripped. Check to ensure beans are cooked
3. Add sugar and salt. If there is excess water, place in a pot and cook over low/medium flame to evaporate the water until rather dry but not burned.
4. Place in a tupperware and let cool.
Red Bean Chinese New Year Cake
1 and 1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
300 g glutinous rice flour (水磨糯米粉)
1 and 1/2 cup sweetened red beans
1 tsp oil
1. Mix sugar and water well in a big bowl. Then add rice flour and the red beans until well incorporated.
2. Place a 6-inch mold in a steamed. Press the parchment paper into the mold. Pour into the papered mold the batter.
3. Steam over medium flame for 1 hour.
4. Check with a chopstick to make sure the middle of the cake is cooked. Uncooked batter is opaque while cooked cake is translucent.
5. Brush the top surface with oil. Let cool to room temperature and then refridgerate overnight to harden.
6. Slice into 1/2" inch slices. Coat with a beaten egg or any desired flour batter. Pan fry until the cake is soft and outer surface is brown. Serve immediately.