Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea and symbolise family unity and perfection. Mai’s recipe uses mung beans but red bean paste or lotus seed paste can also be used. You can also add a drop of food colouring to the wrappers for a more vibrant cake.
- mooncake moulds (see Note)
Mung bean paste
- 200 g mung beans (for 6 or 7 cakes)
- 50 g sugar
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 kg sugar
- 500 g water
- 2 cups sugar syrup
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp essence grapefruit flower
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 2 dessertspoons vegetable oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 3 hours
Resting time 1 hour 30 minutes
Mung bean paste
Soak beans in hot water for 3 hours, then drain. Steam with a little water until soft then put through blender. Place the blended mung beans into a saucepan and over a low heat stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl add the vegetable oil to the glutenous rice flour and stir to a paste. Then stir into the mung bean mixture. Add water and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Test with your fingers to check that when a little of the mixture is rubbed together it forms one mass.
If the mixture is crumbly, add water a little at a time until the dough is the right consistency to form a small ball. Let the mixture cool slightly then roll into 50 g balls. These balls will form the filling of the mooncakes.
To make the syrup, place both water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil stirring all the time. Continue until all the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is syrupy.
Place 2 cups of syrup in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, grapefruit flower essence and vegetable oil. Sift in 2 cups of glutenous rice flour while stirring to a smooth paste. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Pour dough onto floured board and knead in more glutenous rice flour until it holds a shape when rolled into a log form. Splash a little oil onto your hands so the dough doesn’t stick while kneading.)
Cut into 150 g lumps, flatten into discs and wrap each disc around a mung bean paste ball. Coat with some extra rice flour.
Coat the inside of the mould with rice flour and place the ball into the mould. Press down firmly. Remove from mould and place on a plate ready to serve. Repeat the process until the mixture has been used. Leave the mooncakes to rest for up to an hour, before eating..
•These can be bought from Asian kitchen supply stores and select Asian supermarkets.