I’ve been making sweet red bean paste for my homemade mooncakes (read about my blog posts Sweet Red Bean Paste and Sugar-Free Sweet Red Bean Paste for more details) and this is the first time that I flavored it with Chen Pi. Everything is basically the same. I just dumped in some chen pi when I cooked the beans. When the pressure cooking process was completed, the bean smelled sooooo good when I removed the lid. It simply smells like sweet red bean soup! I normally would discard the cooking liquid. But it was so fragrant and I simply drank the liquid.
This red bean paste is already low in sugar and oil, both of which help with moisture retention. Bean paste with insufficient sugar and oil will be dry and crumbly. In order to help it to roll into a ball without using too much sugar and oil, I added maltose as a binding agent. The maltose will help the bean paste to stick together so there is no substitution and cannot be omitted. The cooked glutinous flour also serves to firm up the bean paste by absorbing excess moisture and make it stick together.
Like I said, this bean paste is already very low in sugar and oil so please don’t further reduce the amount indicated in the recipe. If you are making Cantonese mooncakes, you even need MORE oil to help the crust to become glossy after baking. Usually peanut oil is used and the amount would be about 1.5 times the amount in this recipe. You will also need to reduce more moisture to make a much firmer bean paste. Filling with too much moisture will cause the mooncake to deform during baking.
Sweet Red Bean Paste with Chen Pi (Dried Mandarin Peel)
Makes about 550 g
200 g red beans
80 g demerara or granulated sugar
40 g maltose
60 g grapeseed oil
20 g cooked glutinous rice flour
2 pieces chen pi (dried mandarin peel)
Soak chen pi in water until softened. Scrap off the white pith. Set aside.
Rinse the red beans then place in a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans. Bring water to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour beans over a strainer and rinse them under cold running water. Drain and place beans back into the pot, add water and repeat this cooking process two more times. Rinse and drain again.
**This pre-cooking step helps to remove any impurities and bitter flavor from the beans.
Electric pressure cooker method: place drained beans and softened chen pi in the inner pot of Instant Pot and fill with enough water so that the beans are covered by half an inch of water. Close the lid and turn the steam release handle to sealing position. Press the “bean” button once or press “manual/pressure cook” and adjust to cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. When the timer beeps, press “cancel” and let pressure release naturally (about 10 minutes). Carefully remove the lid.
Stove top method: place drained beans and softened chen pi in a pot and add enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil then simmer over medium-low heat until beans are tender, 60 to 90 minutes. Check water level occasionally to make sure the beans are always covered in water. Skim off any foam that floats on top during the cooking process.
電子壓力鍋煮法：把浸軟陳皮和瀝乾的紅豆放入Instant Pot內鍋，注入蓋過紅豆約半寸的清水，關上鍋蓋把排氣閥調整到密封“sealing”位置，按”bean”鍵或按“manual/pressure cook” 鍵選擇高壓煮30分鐘，煮好後按“cancel”等待自然放壓(約10分鐘)，小心打開蓋子。
Drain beans and reserve the liquid. With a stick blender, blender or food process, turn cooked beans and 1 piece of chen pi into a smooth puree. Press the mixture through a sieve for a silkier texture.
**Add reserved liquid only as necessary since too much liquid will make the puree too thin which results in a much longer drying process.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan or wok over medium-low heat. Add in the bean puree, salt, sugar and maltose. Stir with a spatula until combined. Cook with constant stirring until the paste gets thickened. Reduce to low heat and stir in the remaining oil in two batches, adding more only after the oil gets absorbed.
Continue heating and stirring until the paste clumps together and no longer sticks to the side of the pan and the spatula. Stir in the cooked glutinous flour then remove from heat. Transfer to a shallow plate and flatten to speed up cooling. Press a plastic wrap directly over the surface of the bean paste to prevent drying out. Cool to room temperature before using.
**The flour helps to absorb excess moisture from the paste and makes it firmer
**Firmer paste is needed if the paste is to be used as filling for baked mooncake
Store bean paste in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and use within one week. For longer storage, double wrap in smaller quantities and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months and thaw before using
Maltose helps binding the red bean paste together even with insufficient oil and sugar.
If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.
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