How many times have you heard, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Now….how often do you actually eat breakfast? Yeah, me too. It’s just a lot to expect a person to get up and do everything they have to do to get read more
Tag: make ahead
Sweetened red bean paste, or Tsubuan, is probably one of Japan’s most recognized sweet flavors. It’s used in mochi, ice cream, and pastries. It’s even delightful just spread on toast. You can find tsubuan in Asian markets, but it’s so much better when made from scratch! With just a handful of ingredients and only a few minutes of active time, you can have your own sweet red bean paste ready to incorporate into easy Japanese inspired desserts.
Although beans in sweets may seem strange to a Western palate, they are very common in East Asia. We use all different kinds and they are typically cooked, sweetened, mashed to some degree, and then used as a filling, topping, or garnish. They have a subtle earthy flavor, creamy texture, with a sweetness that is just right. If you like desserts made with chestnuts or sweet potatoes, I would say Tsubuan is in the same family.
Sweet red bean paste is made with azuki beans. They are a small red bean grown throughout South East Asia. They have a very mild flavor with a hint of sweetness, which is why they take so well to dessert applications. There are two different kinds of red bean paste made with Azuki beans: a chunky rough one which is chock full of whole beans and then a smooth one, where all of the skins and fiber have been strained out. Tsubuan is seen as the more casual, every day kind of sweet- the kind you plop on some ice cream, sandwich between a simple layer cake, or just spoon out of the container (ok maybe that’s just me).
Koshian, the smooth Azuki paste, has a lighter flavor and color, and is reserved for beautiful, sophisticated sweets typically purchased at a specialty store. I would equate the differences as akin to the feud between chunky and smooth peanut butter, where each has its fans.
So today, we’re making the chunky version. Turning the Azuki beans into Tsubuan first involves softening the beans.
Then drain the beans, and again cover them with water and bring to a simmer.
The beans will need to simmer for one and a half to two hours, until they are soft enough to easily crush with your fingers.
Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the beans are shiny but still a little loose, about 10-12 minutes. The bean liquid will thicken as it cools. I like to leave just enough liquid so it cools into a thick wet mass, scoop-able and not runny. If you prefer it more wet because you plan on using it as a loose topping, cook it for 4-5 minutes instead.
Once the tsubuan has been cooled to room temperature, it’s ready to be used. Serve it spooned on pound cake, topped on ice cream, or as a surprise filling for french toast. Top my Matcha Cake with it for a very Japanese inspired dessert. Or just sneak spoonfuls of it from the fridge-it’s a very healthy, lightly sweet snack. It keeps for about about a week in the fridge but you can also freeze it as well. I split up my batch into smaller container and freeze it all. When I feel like having some, I will either defrost it overnight in the fridge or pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes on low power.
Make some this week and see why it is such an enduring favorite. When you do, let me know what you think. Comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 cup red beans
- 1 cup sugar
- A couple dashes of salt
- Put red beans in a pot with 4 cups of water. Let them boil for 5 minutes over medium high heat and then drain and discard the water.
- Next add 4 cups of fresh water to the pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium low, partially cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours (add more water as needed to keep the water level above the beans).
- You can also pressure cook the beans, which takes only about 25 minutes.
- The beans should now be very soft, and you should be able to easily crush a bean between your fingers.
- Discard the water again and put the soft beans back in the pot with the sugar and salt. Cook the beans over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10-12 minutes until the beans are shiny but still a little loose. You should have bits of whole and broken beans in your anko.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer tsubuan to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Tsubuan will keep for a week in the fridge. It also freezes very well.
Keywords: azuki beans, sweet bean paste, desserts, sweets, japanese, vegan
Coconut Flan is one of the most popular desserts on our menu. And while it is a nod to the enduring love Miamians have for Latin American flan (you can seriously get flan even at our gas stations), the addition of coconut makes it closer to the iconic Vietnamese dessert Báhn Flan. Our Coconut Flan is a rich and creamy make-ahead dream of a dessert. The individual servings feel really special and make a beautiful presentation. It’s naturally gluten free, and it makes 10 servings, making it ideal for a dinner party. Or, since it lasts about a week or so in the fridge, I won’t tell if you make it and eat the whole batch whenever you’re craving a little something sweet.
Coconut Flan Starts with Caramel
Making caramel is easier than you might think. It just requires patience and a watchful eye. I make what’s called a wet caramel-meaning that there is water along with sugar in the pan. I think it’s more fool proof and I’ve never had to start over because I’ve burned the caramel. And if you’ve ever watched The Great British Baking Show, you know that making caramel can stump even the best amateur cooks. Because the water has to cook off before the sugar can start to caramelize, wet caramels do take a bit longer. But I figure, what’s a couple minutes compared to having to start the whole process over again.
And before I start, I get a large bowl of cold water ready in the sink, so that when the caramel is the desired color, I can quickly stop the cooking process by dipping the bottom of the pan in the cool water. Once caramel gets to the right color, it can quickly start to burn from the accumulated heat in the pan.
Let me give you an obvious tip that will ease your anxiety: use white granulated sugar. As you can see in my photos, I only had natural sugar, which is why it already looks a little brown before I even started to cook. The light brown color can be difficult for cooks who don’t often make caramel since the white sugar turning a deep amber color is the sign that your caramel is ready. The taste is the same, but I suggest using regular granulated white sugar, especially if you’ve never made caramel before, so you can carefully watch it as starts to brown.
When it’s a nice golden brown, I take it off the and carefully stir it. It is still cooking at this point, and stirring it helps to make the caramelization uniform. When it’s the color I want, I quickly put it in the bowl of cold water.
Baking the Coconut Flan
I can never really decide which part is best-the caramel or the velvety coconut custard. Luckily, we don’t have to. Yes, 12 egg yolks are a lot. Save the whites and make a healthy egg white omelet. That’s called balance!
This flan is more similar in texture to the French creme caramel than Latin flan which is often very dense. It’s ultra creamy and just sweet enough. I would suggest making it the way the recipe is written, but if you want to cut some of the fat and calories, you can substitute coconut milk instead of cream or use whole milk instead of the half and half. I would not suggest using low fat milk or fat free condensed milk. It’s just not worth it.
Once the mixture is velvety smooth, it’s time to bake the coconut flan. I make a water bath to insure that they cook very gently and evenly.
Bake the flan for about 45-55 minutes, until just set. The center shouldn’t look wet, but it should jiggle slightly when tapped. I turn off the oven, keep the door open, and let them cool for 20 minutes in the oven.
The flan need to chill in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. Which makes this so convenient for entertaining. Then all you have do on the day of is to plate them right before serving.
Prepare for oohs and ahhs when everyone sees your caramel gloriously bathe the coconut flan.
Honestly this is perfection just like this. But if you’re feeling fancy a sprig of fresh mint provides a nice pop of color, and a sprinkling of toasted coconut chips add a nice crunch.
Give this crowd pleasing dessert a try and let me know what you think. Please take a second to rate and comment on the recipe below, and show off your coconut flan by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 19 oz can coconut cream
- 1 cup half and half
- 14 oz can condensed milk
- 12 eggs
- Mint sprigs
- Crunchy coconut strips
- Set 10 (1 cup size) aluminum cups on a rimmed baking tray.
- Set a bowl larger than the diameter of the pan you will be using in the sink and fill it with water.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water. Turn the heat to medium high and stir the sugar just until it melts. Let the sugar water boil. It will start to thicken and bubble more slowly as it reaches the candy stage.
- Continue cooking until the sugar turns a light amber color. This whole process will take about 8-10 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and gently and carefully use a spoon and continue mixing as the sugar will continue to darken.
- As soon as the caramel is the right color, stop the cooking process by dipping the pot into the bowl of cold water. (Do this in the sink as the water may hiss and spit.)
- Pour or spoon the caramel evenly into the containers. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and set the oven rack to the middle.
- In a large bowl separate the egg yolks, saving the whites for another purpose. Add the coconut cream, condensed milk, and half and half.
- Whisk until the mixture is well combined. Pour the mixture through a mesh to eliminate any unmixed egg.
- Pour the mixture into the aluminum tins.
- Put the tray into the oven and then carefully pour about 3 cups of water into the baking tray (the water should come up to near the edge of the tray, about ⅓ of the way up the aluminum tins).
- Bake for 45-55 mins until just set. If you tap the side of one, it should jiggle loosely but the center should not be wet.
- Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Let cool for 20 minutes before moving the tray out of the oven. Transfer the aluminum tins to a dry tray. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, run a pairing (or steak) knife along the edge of the flan. Gently flip the tin over onto a small plate and then pierce the middle of the tin. This will create an air pocket allowing the flan to plop onto the plate.
- Garnish with a little mint or some coconut chips as desired.
*This is a rich and creamy flan. You can substitute the half and half for whole milk or substitute coconut milk for the coconut cream if you prefer a lighter flavor.
*If you do not have aluminum tins, you can use any 8 oz (1 Cup) size oven safe bowls. Once the flans are baked and cooled, run a knife along the outer edge and push gently along the edge of the flan when turning it out to break the seal. If you’re having problems turning out the flan, just eat it out of the bowl itself. It’s perfectly fine and you save yourself from having to wash an additional dish!
Keywords: flan, coconut, dessert, sweets, holiday, party