Last month was a festive time in Asia as it was when some Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam, celebrated what is called Mid-Autumn, or Moon Festival.
Moon Festival is the traditional celebration of the full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month in lunar calendar. It’s a cultural festival celebrated after the harvest season and many families come together to spend time with each other during the celebration.
From old times until now, the Moon Festival has always been about the brightest full moon night, the colourful lanterns, the fiery dragon dances, and the delicious mooncakes.
Mooncakes are a signature and authentic Asian dessert. They come in various flavours, with different fillings and shapes. And undoubtedly, one of the most popular types of mooncake is the Matcha Green Tea mooncake filled with the traditional sweet bean paste.
And today we have a new super authentic dessert to help us celebrate this festive time from last month - Matcha Red Bean Filling Mooncake by the talented Linh Trang aka @savourydays.
Linh Trang is a popular and competent cook and baker from Ha Noi, Viet Nam. She never studied at a professional culinary school but taught herself using internet tutorials and by learning from her own experiences.
Linh is the founder of the popular cooking blog in Vietnam, Savoury Days, where she shares 400 recipes, most of them desserts. Linh recently started an English version food blog called Rice 'n Flour where she documents many cooking recipes from the West to the East. She has also published three recipe books that are very popular in Viet Nam. You can visit Linh and see her amazing recipes at:
Linh’s matcha mooncakes can be a challenge the first time you make them, but you will definitely love the end result. The mooncakes are soft, thin and rich, with an earthy flavour of matcha, and filled with the smooth and sweet texture of red bean paste.
As one mooncake can be pretty filling for one person, these matcha red bean mooncakes are best shared with friends and family.
Matcha Mooncakes + Red Bean Filling
A. Prepare the dough
- 236g flour (I used 118g cake flour (protein 8%) + 118g bread flour (protein 11%))
- 2 tsp (4-4.5g) matcha powder
160g golden syrup (recipe here)
- 30g peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 (18-20g) egg yolk
- 10g (2 heaped tsp) creamy peanut butter
- Sieve the flour + matcha into a large bowl to remove clumps.
- Make a well in the middle of the bowl then add in the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir the mixture gently in a circular motion from the center outwards using a spoon until incorporated.
- Gently knead and form a dough with your hands. The dough should be a little bit wet at first. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a bit more oil or golden syrup.
- Cover the dough with cling film to prevent the dough from drying then let it rest at room temperature for 30-45 mins.
B. Prepare the filling
- 200g red beans
- 3-4 cups water
- 65g sugar
- 80g cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
- 10g cornstarch or wheat flour + 2-3 tsp water
- 35g barley malt syrup (or 80g sugar)
Note: The filling can be made in advance and let cool completely before shaping with the mooncakes. Wrap the filling while waiting for the dough so that it won’t turn dry. Use a pressure cooker or add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the beans to cook faster.
- Wash and soak the beans in warm water overnight.
- Drain and bring the beans and water to a boil in the saucepan.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the beans are soft and tender.
- Place the cooked beans with water in a blender and blitz until smooth.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl through a sieve to get rid of any lumps and skins.
- Stir the mixture with sugar and ⅓ of the oil in a pan on medium heat.
- Stir in another ⅓ of the cooking oil after 3-4 mins and the rest of the cooking oil after 2 mins. Stir well and constantly for another 5 mins to mix. The mixture should still be liquidy.
- Add the cornstarch mixture and malt syrup into the beans and mix well.
- Keep stirring over low heat until you get a thick smooth paste that can form into a firm ball.
- Shape the filling into balls and wrap them with cling film.
C. Mold the mooncakes
- A 100-g sized mooncake spring mold
- A scale
- Rolling pin (or use a clean wine bottle – truly classy!)
- Flour for dusting
- Oil + brush
- Baking tray lined with SilPat or parchment paper
Tips: It’s better to use oil rather than flour to make the molds non-stick as flour tends to be stuck in the nooks and crannies which makes the shape of latter mooncakes less defined and cleaning much more difficult. Also, the mooncakes coated with oil tend to hold their shape in the oven better
After resting, the dough should be more elastic and less sticky. If it’s still a bit too dry, add a bit more golden syrup/honey/oil and knead lightly. Add a bit more flour if the dough feel too sticky or wet.
The photo shows how molding moon cakes looks like. The cake in the photo is traditional flavoured moon cake
Scale and divide the dough into small equal portions. Cover the dough with damp towel during this step to prevent it from drying out.
Dust your hands and shape the pieces of dough into small balls. Dusting hands helps prevent over-flouring the dough and drying it out
- Slightly dust the rolling pin and roll the dough into a circle disk twice the diameter of the filling balls and with the edge being a bit thicker than the center. Don’t roll too much as the skin is too thin to wrap around the filling.
- Put the filling in the dough’s center, gently wrap the dough tightly around the filling, leaving no air between the dough and the filling.
Stretch the dough from the bottom to the top so that it completely and tightly wraps the filling. Make sure all the edges are sealed and the skin around the filling is an even layer. If there is air between the filling and the skin (you can detect this if you find a thicker or softer patch of skin on the cake), use a toothpick to poke out the air and then seal back the dough.
- Brush the inside of the mold evenly with a thin layer of oil.
- Dust a bit of flour on the flat working surface, put the mooncake balls into the molds and press it down onto the surface lightly.
- Remove the cakes from the mold carefully.
D. Bake the mooncakes
Note: The temperature should be lower than usual (below 170ºC) since matcha is sensitive and changes to a yellow color when cooked on a high heat. Also, a table-top oven will conduct heat quicker, so therefore you should adjust the temperature accordingly.
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg + ½ tsp water
Preheat the oven at 160-170 ºC (top and bottom heat) and prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Don’t use the black baking tray as it conducts a lot of heat and will likely burn the bottom of your mooncakes.
- Transfer the mooncakes to the baking tray.
- Bake the matcha mooncakes at 1 rack below the middle rack (for a 5-rack oven) for 8-9 mins in 3 times.
In between each time baking, remove, let it cool completely then brush 2 coats of egg wash. The egg wash should be thin and should only be applied once the cake is completely dry to avoid crack on the surface.
- After 3 times baking, remove from heat and let them cool before serving. Store in cool and dry places for up to 5 days.
Here are your gorgeous earthy matcha mooncakes! Sip a cup of hot green tea, enjoy a slice of matcha mooncake, and celebrate the next full moon.
If you love this recipe, please don’t forget to: