When I was a child, my cousin would come stay with us during school holidays. One year, he became an apprentice at a Chinese restaurant and every night after work, he would return with his creations. My favorite was Red Bean Pancakes—a crepe like pancake stuffed with sweet red bean paste, deep-fried to golden brown, and speckled with sesame seeds. In the past, I had to make the red bean paste from scratch, which takes hours! Nowadays, I am just as happy with the store-bought, canned, sweetened red bean paste, which is far more convenient and delivers terrific results.
Makes 3 pieces
- 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 1 large egg
- 11/2 teaspoons oil, for pan-frying
- 6 tablespoons canned sweeten (mashed) red bean paste
- 3 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- Oil, for deep-frying
- Mix the all-purpose flour, water, and egg to yield 11/2 cups (375 ml) batter. Strain the batter and divide the batter into 3 equal portions.
- Heat 21/2 teaspoon of the oil in an 8-inch (20 cm) flat, non-stick frying pan over low heat. Swirl the oil around so the bottom of the pan is well coated with the oil.
- Pour one portion of the batter into the frying pan. Tilt and swirl it to let the batter coat evenly to form a thin 8-inch (20 cm) pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the pancake is set. Do not turn the pancake over. Loosen the edges using a spatula; lift the pancake to a flat surface.
- Repeat step 2–3 for the other two pancakes.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of the canned red bean paste on the pancake, starting at the lower center, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on both left and right sides and the bottom side. Fold the bottom side over the red bean paste and seal the sides and edges with the leftover batter, forming a 5 x 4-inch (12.75 x 10 cm) rectangle. Repeat the same for the other two pancakes.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the white sesame seeds on the surface of the pancakes. Then seal the pancake with the leftover batter.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of the oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (175°C). Gently drop the pancake into the oil, one at a time.
- Deep-fry until the pancake turns light golden brown. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the pancakes on a wire rack or a dish lined with paper towels. Cut each pancake into pieces and serve immediately.
COOK’S NOTE: Make sure the pancake is tightly sealed. Loosely sealed pancakes will break open during deep-frying.
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