Steamed Fluffy Red Bean Ricecake (CNY2021)
It comes to the end of the year and has become much colder recently. Festival season is arriving, Winter Solstice, Christmas and the New Year. When in such period of the season, I would start preparing food and keep them in fridge. I made steamed fluffy red bean ricecake on Sunday. I love the feeling that on cold and cloudy winter weekends I prepare something tasty and cozy in my kitchen, and while something’s in the oven or steamer, I am waiting with hand-dripped coffee. Such slow life calms me down, despite that I am still unable to visit my nearest families and friends in almost a year.
Why ricecake fluffy?
This fluffy red bean ricecake is one of the easiest Chinese cakes that you can make at home. The ingredients are simple and can be obtained in any Asian grocery store. It’s made with red beans, rice flour and glutinous rice flour. The proportion of rice flour and glutinous rice flour can be differed. Generally speaking, more rice flour could make fluffier steamed cake, while more glutinous rice flour could make chewier cake. You can use rice flour or glutinous rice flour only, but that makes the texture completely different. Anyway, as a ricecake lover I am, I can’t resist any, no matter ricecake is chewy or fluffy.
The cake is made with rice flour so it would not be as ‘fluffy’ as chiffon cake or sponge cake that are made with wheat flour, egg and baking powder. However, it wouldn’t be ‘chewy-gum’ alike as typical white ricecake, such as Nian-gao or Garae-tteok.
There are some simple techniques to make it airy –
- Mix the two types of flour with less water than usual ricecake;
- Rub the small lumps and break them as finely as possible;
- When layering the cake, don’t press the flour firmly.
How to do –
- Prepare the red beans – Use good quality of red beans, soak them in water overnight; cook them in a small soup pot, add at least 500ml of water, bring to boil then simmer for an hour in medium-low heat. Check and stir several times. Beans should be soft enough to break easily after simmering for an hour and liquid should have almost boiled off; Sweeten the beans with sugar, I use Okinawa black sugar; Mix well and let the sugar melt and all liquid boil off, heat off;
2. While the red beans are simmering, prepare the flour. In a big mixing bowl, put in 150g of rice flour and 50g of glutinous rice flour, seasoned with 30g of white sugar and a nip of salt, mix them well; Slowly add in 100ml of water, little by little, and mix with spatula at the same time;
3. Rub the lumps with your palms and fingers to break the lumps. Feel the flour, if they are too wet, then you would find it difficult to break them apart. Sprinkle a little more rice flour or glutinous flour on, mix and keep rubbing till all lumps broken apart finely and the rice flour moist evenly;
4. For a better texture, sift the rice flour with colander. Then cover it with cling film, set aside for at least half an hour; (if you can’t finish the rice flour, keep them in freezer)
5. When beans and flour are ready, we can make the cake. Wipe a thin layer of oil inside the container surface. You could make five layers or simply three layers. Put a layer of rice flour at the bottom, shake the container so that the flour flatten evenly, don’t press with spoon, then a layer of red beans, and a layer of rice flour on top; This amount of ingredients can fit in 2 of these containers.
NOTE – I use 2 of these Ikea glass food containers. You may have noticed I like to use such glass container for making steamed cake in my previous ricecake / nian-gao recipes. They are in the right shape and size. Once the cake is cooked, I could put the lid on and keep them in fridge, or give it to friend or family for present;
Don’t press the flour when layer them in the container, the flour should be loose.
6. Now let’s steam the cake. In a steamer, put in plenty of water, make sure you wrap the lid with cotton kitchen cloth. Steam in high heat for half an hour. After heat off, let the cake sit in the steamer for half an hour, let it cool down a little;
NOTE – If you are not using a bamboo steamer, remember to wrap the lid with cotton kitchen towel, it can absorb the moisture.
7. It should be easily loosen from the container. Cut apart and have it warm or hot. If you can’t finish it, I usually make a bigger portion for breakfast or teatime for a few days, just keep them in the food container and keep in fridge. Reheat it by steaming for 5 minutes before serving.