Monday, January 16, 2012

Coconut and Azuki (Red Bean) Glutinous Rice Cake 椰汁紅豆糯米糕—For Chinese New Year

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According to the Luna Calendar, the Chinese New Year (CNY) falls on January 23rd this year.  I can't believe it's only a week away from now.  Chinese New Year is the biggest Holiday in many Asia countries, pretty much like Christmas or Thanksgiving in the United States.  In Hong Kong, most retail stores, businesses and schools are close for a week during the CNY to celebrate.  Traditionally, the days off also allow everyone to celebrate and visit family members and distanced relatives.  Boy, don't I miss that tradition!  To read more about other Chinese New Year traditions and a scrumptious Butter Cookie recipe, you can also refer to this post here from last year.  As we say farewell to the Year of Rabbit, we'll be welcoming the Year of Dragon.  The Dragon certainly has the characteristic and image of strong, energetic and mysterious.

There are many specialty food, savory dishes or sweet treats, made just for the Chinese New Year.  These special treats often have special meanings, for good health, wealth and/or good luck for the new year.  Rice cakes are one of the "must have" treats during the CNY because the pronunciation of Rice Cake in Chinese (年糕) sounds exactly like "growth (taller) every year".  These rice cakes symbolize growth and improvement for the year to come.  There are many different version of Rice Cake.  The more traditional ones are simply glutinous rice flour mixed with brown/palm sugar and/or coconut milk or water, and then steam away.


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This particular recipe of Coconut and Azuki (Red Bean) Glutinous Rice Cake 椰汁紅豆糯米糕 is my modernized version of the Rice Cake.  Baked with a crunchy and fragrant layer of coconut flakes on top.  The first time I tried this coconut rice cake was from my Aunt.  It was so amazing that I went back for second and third.  I adopted my Aunt's recipe and added Azuki beans.  The red beans not only added a little sweetness and tender texture to this rice cake, but also added some red color that symbolized good luck in Chinese.  The slightly sweetened red bean flavor compliment really well with the coconut.  My Aunt's recipe called for just vegetable oil, but I replaced it with some coconut oil to add more coconut flavor.  It came out wonderfully.  Here are the main ingredients you'll need: Coconut milk, glutinous rice flour, eggs, coconut milk, prepared azuki red beans, evaporated milk, sugar and of course coconut flakes.

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When the batter is done mixing, pour onto a prepared baking dish and dollop the red beans on top randomly.

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With a spoon, swirl around to make the marble patterns as shown below.  Don't worry about the red bean staying on top now as some of them will sink during the baking process.  Also, I bake the rice cake for a few minutes before sprinkling the coconut flakes on top to prevent the coconut flakes from sinking.  When the coconut flakes stay on top, that’s how you get the golden brown and crispy layer.

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See the golden brown top and crunchy edges?  YUM!  I particularly love the sides and corners for the extra crunch, just like brownies.

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When the rice cake cooled down a bit, cut them into bars of your preferred size and serve.  I love them when they are still slightly warm from the oven.  The texture is a mix of crunchy from the edges, flaky and crisp from the coconut flakes on top, and tender and chewy from the inside.  The sweetness is perfect and packed with red beans and coconut flavors.  The coconut aroma truly shines through.

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These Coconut and Azuki (Red Bean) Glutinous Rice Cakes 椰汁紅豆糯米糕 are perfect for sharing in gatherings, pot lucks, or package them to give to friends and relatives for the CNY.  Just a reminder, the edges of these rice cake will soften the next day.  Simply pop them back to a toaster oven or regular oven for a few minutes if you prefer them to be crispy.  Or simply enjoy their tender and chewy texture as is.


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I want to wish all of you all a bountiful, healthy, and happy Year of Dragon (Gong Hay Fat Choi). May you reach higher than ever, exceed your next goal and target in life, just as these Rice Cake symbolized. 祝大家恭喜發財, 龍馬   , 身體健康, 步步升!

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Coconut and Azuki (Red Bean) Glutinous Rice Cake 椰汁紅豆糯米糕:
(
Printable Recipe)
Makes 24 bars


1 bag (16 ounces) glutinous rice flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
11/2 cups castor sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4  cup vegetable oil
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
6 oz evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup prepared red bean (Yude Azuki)*
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 380 degrees F.  

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the glutinous rice flour, baking powder and baking soda, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and the castor sugar together on medium high speed until pale yellow.  Add coconut oil, vegetable oil, coconut milk, evaporated milk and salt, beat together until well combined.

Turn mixer to low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until well incorporated.  You'll get a very thick batter.  Don’t worry about over mixing the batter as glutinous rice flour doesn't contain any gluten!  

Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, pour batter into the dish in an even layer.  Dollop the Azuki red beans on top and slightly swirl them with a spoon to form the marble patterns.  Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle the coconut flakes on top in an even layer.  Return to oven and continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Loosely cover the top with a foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserts in the center and comes out clean.

Let cool on a wiring rack.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut into bars in desired sizes.


*Amy's Note:  You can also easily make your own red bean paste/fillings at home.  Click here for the homemade recipe.  :)




32 comments:

  1. Looks so sweey and healthy too. Wow, one week from today???

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  2. Actually, this rice cake is not that sweet at all. :) As most Chinese/Asian desserts tend to be less sweet compared to American or European ones.

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  3. That looks amazing, Amy! I will have to try it when I get home....Christine

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    1. Thank you, Christine. Let me know how you like them. :)

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  4. Awesome shots, Amy! Those are gorgeous treats to celebrate Chinese New Year with!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Tina. Hope you'll give them a try.

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    2. Thank you so much for the awards, Tina. Much appreciated! :)

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  5. Quelle bonne gourmandise de bon matin
    Je te souhaite une belle journée
    Valérie.

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    1. Je vous remercie beaucoup. Je suis content que vous aimez ce traitement. Je vous souhaite une belle journée, ma chère.

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  6. Beautiful cake to celebrate Chinese New Year! My son has recently discovered Chinese food and he is thrilled! I am sure he would love this cake!

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    1. Thank you. Make this cake for your son and he'll be a very happy camper! :) Let me know how he likes it.

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  7. It's Gorgeous! Would like to try your recipe. Wishing you all the best in the year of Dragon!

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    1. Thank you soooo much. Wish you the same and get the blessings in return 100 folds.

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  8. I would love for you to link this recipe up to my Famous Linkz Party! www.made-famous-by.com

    Hugs,
    Heather aka Made Famous By

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  9. Found your recipe on food gawker, beautiful photos! Also, what a wonderful version of CNY cake! Can't wait to try it out this weekend. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. Let me know how your Rice Cake turn out after you've tried it. :) Gong Xi Fa Chai to you too!

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  10. Oh my gosh, for a red bean lover, this sounds SOOOOOO delicious! I've never eat coconut and azuki together. The combination sounds actually amazing!

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  11. I couldnt find coconut oil anywhere...what should I replace it with?

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    1. If you are in the States, you should be able to find the coconut oil from Whole Foods supermarket or most health food stores. Or, get one online here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VLZ8D0/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=a0464-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002VLZ8D0

      Otherwise, you can replace the coconut oil with vegetable oil. Hope the information helps. Have fun baking! :)

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  12. Hi Amy! I've missed you and so glad to be getting back into making the rounds....and...Wow! You continue to amaze me!
    These beauties look delicious!
    I hope you have a wonderful week-end my friend! xo

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    1. Thank you so much my dear friends. Glad you like this Rice Cake. Wish you a wonderful week ahead of you! Take care.

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  13. Hi Amy,
    I am always so excited to view your presentations, you are such a talented person. I would love to attempt your recipe that looks absolutely delicious. Wishing you a very special New Years Celebration! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Miz Helen. Thank you for hosting Full Plate Thursday. Wish you a wonderful New Year filled with blessings! Take care and I'll be back soon.

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  14. Yum! This looks great! Thanks for linking up to the Tuesday Talent Show! I hope to see you again next week!
    -Nikki
    Chef in Training
    www.chef-in-training.com

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    1. Thank you for hosting the linky party! I'll definitely be back! Wish you a beautiful week ahead of you.

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  15. Delicious!! What a great modern twist to the traditional "nian gao"! Love it! :)

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    1. Thank you. Hope you'll give this a try. After just one bite, you'll make this Rice cake instead of the traditional ones and never look back! ;)

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  16. Hello,
    I discovered your blog through Knapkins. This recipe looks delicious and I didn't get a chance to make it for the new year, I saved it to my favorites, I guarantee some day I'll make it (that's the way I am, always postponing). So belated Gong Hay Fat Choi to you.
    Cheers
    Laure

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    1. Thank you and Gong Hay Fat Choi to you too. It's never too late to have nice greetings and blessings, in my opinions. :) Hope you'll give this treat a try. I'm sure you'll love it. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  17. Those look fabulous. It looks like there's a thin crust, but the recipe seems like it's all one layer. Does the crust just form by itself as it bakes?

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    1. Thank you. This is really a lovely dessert with lots of wonderful aromas. Yes, this is just a one layer dessert and the crust forms during baking. I love the edges and the crust as it's slightly crunchy and the inside is chewy. Lovely contrast on the texture. :)

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