Today is the 15th of Luna New Year. It’s what we called Yuanxiao, aka Lantern’s Festival.
In honor of the Rabbit, I made bunny dumplings. It’s like going back to the old hand crafting class. They have cranberry eyes and sweet homemade adzuki bean paste heart, and wear a glutinous rice flour coat. Oh, and don’t forget the ears and tails too! Aren’t they too cute to eat?
Bunny Yuanxiao with sweet adzuki bean paste filling Recipe
IngredientsFor the filling: 1/2 lb raw adzuki bean (usually sold in Asian market) brown sugar or regular granulated sugar (amount depend on personal taste) 1/4 cup butter or canola oil water For the dough: 1 cup glutinous rice flour (sold in Asian market) hot water (about 190-200F degree)
Making the Bean Paste:
Soak the dry bean in water overnight. The next day, discard the soaking water. In a large pot, cover beans with 1 inch of water above them, bring to boil, then keep the bean simmer on stove for 1 to 1.5 hour, or until the beans are very soft and mushy. Stir from time to time to keep them from sticking to the pot. Ideally, then the beans are done, there should be almost no water left in the pot. If not, simmer for longer time uncovered to let the water evaporate out. Be careful not over cook, otherwise you’ll burn the beans.
Then using a potato masher or ricer, mash the beans. They don’t have to be perfectly fine. It’s homemade, so it’s okay to have traces of bits and skins.
After they are mashed, melt butter in a large saute pan, put sugar in, stir until sugar is melted. Then add the mashed beans into the pan. Stir fry to mix everything well, taste to adjust the add more sugar if desire. Continue to stir fry until the mixture is completely dried, remove from the heat. The paste should look dry and be able to hold on its own shape, not runny or mushy.
Making the dough:
Read ahead: The tricky part is to add hot water at the beginning, and at the same time be careful not adding too much hot water. Why? The initially hot water will par-cook some of the glutinous rice flour and the par-cooked flour dough acts as a “mother dough” to help mix the rest of the flour together. You will never be able to form a dough using cold water. That’s the secret!
So, put 1 cup of glutinous rice flour in a large bowl. Gradually pour hot water while using one hand to mix the flour with water, until there is still roughly 1/3 dry flour left in the bowl, then stop adding water. Then, try to mix the dry 1/3 flour with the already damp flour. You should be able to form a smooth round dough by this method. If it looks too dry, slowly add couple drops of water.
Now, you have both the dough and fillings, be creative with shaping the dumpling or just simple wrap them into a round ball! You can boil or steam them to enjoy.
Stay warm and dry with family in this rarely awful weather here in the Bay area.
Happy Lantern’s Festival!