Sunday, January 06, 2008

The chocolate of China

Red-bean is Chinese chocolate. Not because red-bean tastes anything like cacao-bean, as we already know, but because red-bean is used the same way chocolate is used in the western countries. Yes red-beans are eaten sweet..and it tastes delicious! My first encounter with sweet red-bean was in the moon cakes and I knew immediately that I needed to find out more about it. And where do u start if not at bakeries :-).

Here below you can see some typical red-bean sweets that I found in different bakeries here in Shanghai. The most commonly red-beans are made into a sweet paste. They are boiled, mashed and mixed with sugar and some oil. But sometimes they are just boiled, mixed with sugar syrup and used in different pastries, soups, cakes, as you can see below.


Steamed bun with red-bean paste. This is the most common bun with red-bean paste and is sold all over Shanghai, from bakeries to small street vendors. I will write more just about steamed bread later on.

Red-bean paste is stuffed inside a bread slice and fried. Ends are dipped in white and black sesame.

 Sweet buns filled with red-bean paste and sprinkled with black sesame.

Red-bean paste is thinly spread between dough layers.

I thought this bun was with red-bean, it had a character for bean in its name, so you cannot blame me, but I guess the rest of the characters said "big black bean" :-). I have never before seen that big black beans, they were delicious too but are not that common.

Green-tea mousse with whole red-bean on top. The combination green-tea and red-beans is very common as well. Later on I will write more about it.

Yes, there is red-bean to drink...

... and to eat as sweet soup together with some kind of jelly.

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