Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Goodness of Red

After a few weeks break from Weekend Herb Blogging, I’m back to participate with a post on beans – adzuki beans to be exact.

Adzuki beans, also known as red beans(a more general term), is commonly used in sweet desserts in Chinese and Japanese cooking. They can be cooked with sugar into a paste-like consistency, which is subsequently used as a filling in Japanese sweets such as daifuku(glutinous rice cake), or an-pan(sweet bread filled with red bean paste), The chinese also uses them to stuff tang yuan(glutinous rice balls) or the more familiar mooncakes.

Here I made a sweet ‘soup’ comprising of adzuki beans, lotus seeds and orange peel. This is a very common dessert available dessert stalls in hawker centres and food courts, as well as being the almost-ubiquitous ‘finale’ at a Chinese wedding banquet.

There are so many variations of this recipe, depending on personal taste and preference. So just take the recipe below as a guide.

300g adzuki beans
2 litres water
1 packet of fresh* lotus seeds, rinsed
1 piece of dried tangerine peel(available in Chinese medicinal halls)
4-5 blades pandan leaves
Rock sugar or caster sugar to taste

1) Cover adzuki beans with sufficient water and leave to soak overnight(this will cut down the cooking time substantially)
2) Drain the beans. Place them in a slow cooker(it’s also fine to cook them over the stove) and add 2 litres of water and orange peel. Let the beans boil until they just begin to turn soft and break up.
3) Discard the orange peel. Drain the cooked beans and reserve the liquid. Place half of the beans into a blender. Add some of the red bean liquid and blend to a very smooth mixture.
4) Pour this mixture into a pot, add the un-blended beans, slowly add in the red bean liquid until the consistency you prefer. Add in the lotus seeds, pandan leaves and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then for simmer for about 10 mins. Discard the pandan leaves.
5) Serve hot. Or if you like, this can also be served chilled, and especially refreshing with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Note: Some people do not blend the beans, I do as I like it smoother, but at the same time I want some bite, so I blend a portion. Similarly, if you prefer, you could also blend all the beans for a totally smooth soup. It’s really up to your personal taste.

*If you fresh lotus seeds are not available, dried ones can be used. Just make sure to soak them in water overnight, remove the bitter germ in the centre and steam to soften them.

Rachel is hosting this week's WHB, so don't forget to head over to Rachel's Bite to check out the round-up. Of course, Kalyn's Kitchen will be where you'll find more details on WHB.


Cuisine Paradise said...

Wow.. it's nice to have a bowl of this in the late afternoon for tea break... yummy! I love red bean soup with all the yummy stuff that u add.... :)

Anh said...

Pal, this is so comforty! I would love to have a bowl for dessert! :D I love love sweet bean desserts. My mother used to make black bean sweet soup, but red beans are nice too!