June 5, 2019

Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕

Green Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕

cake, chinese, cookie, duanwu dragon boat festival, Green Bean Cakes, mung bean cake, pastry, recipe, red bean filling, 端午節, 綠豆糕
By Published: 2019-06-05
It's almost time for Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 when the mighty dragon boats are once again afloat on the harbors to race each other to the booming beat of drums!  Did you know besides the making and eating of yummilicious zong zi to celebrate this festival (usually either the savory meat filled zong zi 肉粽子 or the sweet red bean paste zong zi 紅豆沙粽子the origins of the Duanwu Festival also has to do with a traditional time of ritual protection against pestilence and poisonous animals brought on by the heat of the summer season?  One of the things done in order to protect against summer sickness was to consume 'cooling' foods to help the body dispel heat and eliminate toxins.  Happily one of the traditional 'cooling' foods made for this purpose is the delighfully light and sweet Green Mung Bean Cake 綠豆糕, an elegant mold shaped sweet pastry of fragrant mung bean paste stuffed with sweet red bean paste.  So beautiful to look at and tasty to boot...you won't believe how fast these little cakes disappear!


Tang dynasty dragon boat race attributed to Li Zhaodao 李昭道, 7th century

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Here's my lovely traditional wooden mold in the shape of a turtle shell.  I love these molds...they're so gorgeous!   Turtles are a symbol for longevity.  The pattern in the middle of the shell is actually a graphic representation of the Chinese word for longevity: 壽.  One really key thing to using these wood molds is to remember to dust with flour, every time!  Or else your pastry is never going to come out...

cake, chinese, cookie, duanwu dragon boat festival, Green Bean Cakes, mung bean cake, pastry, recipe, red bean filling, 端午節, 綠豆糕,
cake, chinese, cookie, duanwu dragon boat festival, Green Bean Cakes, mung bean cake, pastry, recipe, red bean filling, 端午節, 綠豆糕,

First we prepared the green mung bean paste 綠豆沙餡 (see our recipe here) and the red bean paste 紅豆沙 (click link for our recipe or here for premade).   Note that this mung bean paste can also be used as a filling for any type of Chinese pastry.  For using in this case as an outer shell of the pastry the green mung bean paste is mixed with butter and sesame oil to allow it to hold its shape after baking.  Traditionally lard is used instead of butter and it's a great idea to substitute in a portion of the butter with lard as it will add alot of tastiness and fragrance to the cake.

The paste for both the shell and the filling can be rather soft so if needed put in the fridge to firm up a bit first before molding.  The green mung bean paste was quite sticky so I ended up dusting a layer of flour on it before pressing into the already flour dusted mold.  That really helped the paste to not stick.  One layer of green mung bean paste, a good dab of red bean paste in the middle and a final layer of green mung bean paste.  Press flat gently with palm.

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To remove the pastry from the mold, turn mold face down and gently tap the end of the mold on the table.  Remember that your pastry is going to fall out of the mold on to the table so you don't want too much distance from table to mold.  If you paid heed to the important tip of dusting flour on both your mold and on the mung bean paste then your pastry should tip out of the mold pretty smoothly.  I love using molds...it's so fun when they come out so pretty!

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Move the shaped cakes onto your baking sheet gently as they are pretty delicate before baking and even right after baking.  Once the pastries cool down they will hold their shape quite well.  

This was the first time I used homemade green mung bean paste as the outer shell for a cake or pastry and I have to say that it was a huge hit in the taste and texture department.  The texture is light and almost creamy while the taste is just sweet enough with a buttery, fragrant beany kind of flavor that is addictive.  And of course there is the hidden center, a smooth and sweet surprise of delicious red bean paste, the Chinese version of chocolate I always like to say. 


To celebrate Duanwu Boat Festival this year, why not try this easy to make and bake traditional Chinese treat Green Mung Bean Cakes 綠豆糕 so that you can not only indulge your sweet tooth but also help your body to 'cool' off from the effects of the summer heat!  Happy Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 and power to all the dragon boat racers!

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Green Mung Bean Cakes Recipe  綠豆糕
(makes approx. 14-15 small cakes)Prep time: Cooking time:

Ingredients 

2 cups green mung bean paste 綠豆沙餡, 300g (see our recipe here)
3 1/2 tbsp butter (or a half half mix of lard and butter), 50g, softened to room temp.
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup red bean paste 紅豆沙, 100g
2 tbsp flour, for dusting

Directions:
Mix the green mung bean paste with butter (or butter lard combo) and sesame oil until thoroughly combined.  Cover and let firm up in refrigerator.  Freeze red bean paste for 10 mins or until firm enough to scoop and shape.

To fill the mold*: Scoop out 1 tbsp of green mung bean paste and use fingers to shape into an flat oval that fits overall shape of mold.  Dust both the wooden mold (use an old toothbrush!) and the side of bean paste facing the mold with flour.  Press lightly into mold.  Scoop up 1 1/2 tsp of red bean paste and shape into a smaller flat oval and place in center of mold.  Scoop another 1 tbsp of green mung bean paste and form into a flat oval the size of the mold and place over red bean paste.  Press down lightly but firmly with flat of palm, making sure that the paste fits into all corners of the molds completely.

*Do note that the amounts of paste needed to fill the mold will differ according to the mold you use.
The idea is to know exactly how much of each paste is needed to both form the cake and also exactly fill the mold.  Each mold will be different so guesstimate for the first one until you have it right.  

Keeping the mold at an  25°angle to the table top, tap the front end of the mold on the table until the shaped cake slips out.  Gently move on to a parchment paper covered baking sheet, placing cakes with a 1" space inbetween.  Bake at 260°F (130°C) for 20 mins.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before moving.  Eat right away or store in airtight container for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!



More Delicious Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:




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