Something inspired me while I was in HK to venture into making Chinese desserts. Perhaps it was knowing that I wouldn’t have an oven for a good chunk of the year in the new place, or that it was simply because the recipes seemed simple, homely and tasty. One of the things that used to make me less inclined to make tasty Asian things was partly because of the effort needed to actually get the things that were specified in the recipe as it would take a couple of visits to different Asian grocers to find the thing I want, and even if they did, the quality would be questionnable (I once saw packets of red beans with mould on them and they were still on the shelves!).
Anyway, with this new found inspiration, and a trusty Asian grocer, I gave another hand at making a popular Hong Kong dessert. I came across this wandering the streets in HK and in their display cabinet, there were a variety of ‘slices’ for what equated to A$0.60 for 1. They looked too good not to try, and afterwards, I was hooked on all things with that agar-agar / firm gelatinous texture. This was the easiest to make, out of of all the ones I want to try, and I love it — it isn’t too sweet, I get a lot from not very much, and it lasts quite well in the fridge for over a week.
Yellow split pea ‘pudding’ (馬豆糕)
- 1/2 cup yellow split peas
- 1 cup cornflour
- 3/4-1 cup caster sugar (personal preference)
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 4 cups water
- Rinse the yellow split peas until the water runs clear. Place them in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil. Make sure you watch it at this stage as it can boil over really quickly! Lower the heat so that its inbetween simmering and boiling and wont’ boil over. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Pop on the lid, remove from heat and let it stand for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Mix the cornstarch with 1 cup of water — it feels like it’ll never dissolve at the start, but keep going and it’ll dissolve. Set aside.
- Put the remaining 3 cups of the water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil. Add the coconut milk and evaporated milk. Bring to the boil again. Add the cornflour mixture and stir vigourously. The mixture will thicken up considerably at this stage, so it’s important to keep stirring. Do so for about 2 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and add the drained yellow split peas. Stir for another minute.
- Pour the mixture into a dish or moulds, and place into the fridge for 4-5 hours until set.
Makes a 9 inch quiche dish but fit it into whatever mould you have.