Recipe: Hong Dou Gao (Red Bean Cake)

750 grams brown sugar
500 grams chestnut starch
500 grams dried red beans

1. Soak beans overnight, place in rice steamer, covered with water. Steam until cooked (approx 2 hours). Mash, leaving some beans intact and add brown sugar to taste.
2. Place large wok on burner and place sugar in wok. Put chestnut starch in large bowl. Fill cake pan (about a 14 inch round pan – about 2 inches deep) 3/4 full with water. Pour 1/2 water with sugar and the other half in with the starch.
3. Turn heat under water to high and stir intermittently until water boils and sugar dissolves completely. Meanwhile, stir starch and water. 4. When sugar mixture is boiling, stir one small cup of starch & water into the boiling mixture. Turn off heat & pour sugar mixture into starch mixture. Stir until completely mixed.
5. Rinse wok and add about 2 inches of water and a steaming stand. Turn heat on high, cover, and bring to rolling boil.
5. Mash beans, leaving some beans intact. Add starch & sugar mixture. 6. Using a small cup, add enough batter to the cake pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Place on steaming rack and steam, covered, for about 5 minutes (until the cake is a uniform dark color). Add another layer of batter (just enough to completely cover the last layer) and cook in the same manner. Repeat until the pan is completely full.

Alternative method: using a much smaller pan (about 8 inch), you fill the pan completely, place it in the steamer, and steam for about 30 minutes – until the cake is completely set in the center. This gives the cake a different texture – a bit wetter, perhaps, and not quite as firm.

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2 Responses to Recipe: Hong Dou Gao (Red Bean Cake)

  1. It is hard to tell what is meant by the measures in the method of the recipe. Please detail in measurements that can be easily understood, such as 3/4 cup, as 3/4 bowl differs as everyone has different ideas and equipment when cooking. At least if it is a cup size measurement, then the accuracy can still come to the recipe.

  2. Andrea Voyer says:

    Sorry, Samantha, that’s the best I have for measurements now. I am planning to give it a try soon and will try to get some actual measurements to you. The recipe I have here is just the play-by-play of the lesson I had in China – we didn’t have measuring cups, etc and my teacher didn’t speak English.

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