Red Bean Cake. YES.

This is one of my favorite Chinese desserts that I finally learned how to make with help from my mom.  In Chinese it’s called 年糕 (nian gao) –  meaning “year”, and sounding exactly like the word for “higher” – and so, eating it over new year celebrations will naturally bring enlightenment, power, and never-ending happiness and success.  And even if that's not true, red bean cake does bring me temporary happiness, and it may also enlighten those who try it.

To make the filling, use chinese red beans, also called azuki beans.  Soak the beans in water overnight.  Or to save time, boil some water in a kettle and soak them in that water for a couple of hours.  The beans will plump up a bit.

Then boil them in water that JUST covers it on low for about an hour.  Then mash up the beans, I used a fine potato masher.  Then add sugar to taste and some vegetable oil for smoothness.

To make the rice batter, combine about 2 cups of rice flour with about a cup and a half of milk, 1 egg, 1 tsp of baking power, spinkle of salt, about a half cup of sugar.  Mix that together, it’s going to be a thin mixture similar to the consistency of pancake mix.

Grease a pan and pour about half the mixture into the bottom.  Then drop in spoonfuls of the beanpaste, trying not to disturb the bottom.  And then top with the rest of the batter so the bean paste is covered.  Sprinkle with a healthy dose of sesame seeds, and then bake at 165c/350f for about 50 minutes.  Slice up and serve!


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