Sunday, February 24, 2013

A belated Chinese New Year, Part 1

I'm about two weeks late late (lol this is what I meant earlier when I said I'm pretty behind). I did make these on the day of Chinese New Year though. These are mochi red bean cakes, and in Chinese they're called "nian gao," which literally translates to "higher each year." You're supposed to eat them so that you'll have an even better year ahead. 

Usually you can buy canned red bean paste in Asian grocery stores, but I couldn't find any shops in downtown DC that had this. The nearest big Asian grocer is pretty far away, so I chose to just make the paste from scratch.

Adapted from

  • 2/3 cup dried azuki beans
  • Water
  • Wash of salt
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (I used half table sugar half honey)
  • Neutral oil (I used extra light olive oil)

Cover the beans in water and soak for several hours. The recipe suggests overnight, but three hours was fine for me. Drain beans, then transfer to pot and cover with water again. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil, then simmer at medium heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check and stir it every once in awhile, adding more water as needed.

This is how beans should look like after boiling, and they should be soft to the touch. Drain any excess water and transfer to a blender.

Add sweetener and blend til smooth. It should look rather liquidy.

Cook the liquid out so that you have a thicker paste. Add oil to a saucepan and turn stove to medium-low heat. Pour in paste and fry until drier, about 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Transfer to a tupperware and store in fridge or freezer until ready to use, in our case for the mochi :D I took a bunch of bites to "taste test" so the paste here has chunks missing tee hee.

Recipe from Mama Shen (my mommy)

  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups sticky rice flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup red bean paste

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients except red bean paste. I used an electric beater to mix well. 

Line cupcake tin with foil liners and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Fill 1/3 full and bake for 8-10 minutes until just set.

Form red bean paste into 1/2" balls and place over batter. Fill to the top with remaining batter until red bean paste is just covered.   

Return to oven and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes until just set.

Refrain from taking a bite until it has cooled a bit, since the filling is piping hot. 

Om nom.

And P.S. this is my 100th post :OOO It's a minor milestone but I'm still in disbelief that I've blogged this much in only half a year. Thank you for following my blog, and hope you continue to follow to my next milestone and beyond!

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