|The mess at the side of the container is proof that someone literally ate the paste from the tub.|
Due to my tardiness, this is a back post. Dumpling festival has come and gone and all dumplings have been consumed. But this is so good, I have to post this for my own record.
It has been a couple of years since I made dumplings. With the festival round the corner, I thought I would keep the tradition alive and pass the skills of wrapping the dumplings to my daughter. But before I even get started , there was the problem of red bean paste.
This home made red bean paste was made out of necessity because I simply could not get a pack of the ready made version in at least 2 supermarkets. What to do, that time of the year being dumpling festival? Moreover, my daughter who has the nose of a canine hates the 'funny ' smell of off the shelf red bean paste.
Long time ago before there was Phoon Huat, mum would make the paste from scratch over charcoal fire. It took more than a day of simmering the beans then frying them to the correct consistency in a wok . We would help with the stirring and I bet the paste were reduced by a good 20% by the time it was ready because we would test-taste the vat of sweet gooey stuff as we stirred.
Thankfully, with the slow cooker, I am spared the heat control part of the work but everything else works the same in the modern kitchen. Many times I almost caved in to consume it as red bean soup to spare myself the non-stop stirring but I persevered. My daughter declared the paste authentic because it was not overly smooth and rich. Guess she's into the 'artisan' kind of cuisine.
Should you embark on my project , note that it takes 2 long days to reduce the beans to near pulp. The end stage where low heat frying is involved, hubby and daughter, helped out and made this into a family project, which I was very grateful. No wonder it was the best component of my Bak Zhang!
1 kg of red beans
5 cups sugar
3-4 cups oil
4 liters of water or more
Wash beans. Transfer beans into a slow cooker and add enough water to cover the beans, about 4 liters of water in my case .
Cook the beans over medium heat, for 2 days, stirring once every other hour after the first 5 hours.
Over the night, turn to low heat to prevent the bottom from scorching.
After 48 hours, you should still have some liquid left. Transfer beans and liquid to a non stick pot.
Add oil and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar, over medium low heat. Add sugar according to your preference.
When the red bean is fairly dry, turn off heat. Stir for another 5 minutes to prevent scorching. Transfer to a container and leave to cool, uncovered.