Vegan Mofo 18: R is for raw buckwheat rolls with Red Bean filling

Sweetened red bean paste (anko) opens the door to East Asia, where it is used in a variety of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean desserts from soups to pancakes to ice creams. I have not worked with red beans before so I thought I’d give it a go. Note that red beans, also known as azuki or adzuki beans, should not be confused with red kidney beans, which are much larger in size.

Recently I came across a very inviting recipe for raw buckwheat cinnamon rolls which looked just like swiss rolls. Currently in a buckwheat phase, I combined the idea of a buckwheat roll with anko filling, thinking that the earthy buckwheat flavor would be a nice complement the sweet anko. In the original recipe, 100% raw groats were used, but I decided soaking and sprouting would be better on the digestive system.

Red bean paste generally comes in two consistencies: chunky (tsubu-an) and pureed (koshi-an). I went for a chunkier filling as I prefer more bite to the rolls. Most recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of beans to sugar but I drastically reduced the sugar amount, because the rolls had dates in them and I didn’t want to overdo the sugar.

But it still turned out quite a sugar-rush though. Buckwheat + dates + sweetened red beans, that makes a triple carbo-load! Also the rolls lacked textural contrast as everything was quite pasty (somewhat like energy balls). On hindsight, chop nuts such as walnuts studded on top would add a lovely crunch. Even better, use crushed pistachios for a red-and-green festive look that would be perfect for Christmas. Overall I love the concept of the buckwheat rolls but the filling needs tweaking.

Raw Buckwheat Rolls with Red Bean Filling (recipe-in-progress)
Makes 10 small rolls.
Vegan.
Buckwheat Rolls adapted from Vegan Fusion; Red Bean (Anko) Paste adapted from Just Hungry.

Ingredients
Raw & Sprouted Buckwheat Rolls

  • 2/3 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 8 dates), coarsely chopped

Red Bean Paste (will make extra paste)

  • 2/3 cup (125g) red beans (adzuki beans)
  • Water
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Directions

  1. Day 1: soak buckwheat. Two days before making the rolls, soak the buckwheat overnight in water.
  2. Day 2: sprout buckwheat & soak red beans. The next day, drain the buckwheat and rinse well under running water to remove the slime. Once the water runs clear, leave the groats in the sieve and place it away from direct sunlight. Allow the groats to sprout for one day. Also, soak the red beans overnight in water.
  3. Day 3: make the rolls.
  4. First prepare the red bean paste. Drain the beans and put them in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, boil for a minute then drain the beans. Repeat the boiling and rinsing three times. (Apparently this helps to get rid of the impurities and give a cleaner taste). Then add water again, just enough to cover the beans, and boil for about one hour until the beans can be squashed easily with the back of a spoon. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Add sugar and mix well. If it is too dry, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid back in. Once sugar has completely mixed in, pour into a container to cool down.
  5. Meanwhile as the red beans are boiling, prepare the buckwheat paste. Place sprouted buckwheat and dates into the food processor and pulse until slightly crumbled and doughy, but with some bits of buckwheat groats still visible (I may have overprocessed mine!). Then spread dough out onto a parchment paper and press the dough into a square/rectangle that is roughly ¼-inch thick.
  6. Spread the red bean paste over all of the dough except for about 1/2-inch along the far long edge.
  7. Roll the dough up by making a small fold along the near edge, pressing it down, peeling back the parchment, and continuing to roll in the same way, making sure to press the whole thing together as you go so that you have a tight roll. Refrigerate for a few hours to harden.
  8. For a clean slice, use a thread to cut into 1-inch pieces.

 

Fig & Almond Galette (vegan)

You haven’t known figs until you try a fresh one. Sure, the dried ones are available all year round, but there is nothing like the lusciously sweet taste and unique texture of fresh figs. Plump, soft, yielding, bright and juicy – no other fruit is as sensually pleasing. Delicate when fresh, bubbly when roasted, jammy when mashed. Oh, I could go on ravishing about this exotic fruit but I should probably stop lest there’ll be no end.

The appeal of the fig goes beyond its sensual delight. Here are some interesting information that you might want to go figure. Thought to originate in Asia Minor, humans have revered the common fig tree Ficus carica since antiquity. Fossil remains from the Jordan Valley indicate they have been cultivated for more than 11,000 years. In fact, the fig is the most talked about fruit in the Bible. For example, right in the beginning Genesis 3:7 indicates that the fig tree provided the first clothing for Adam and Eve: “… they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig eaves together and made coverings for themselves.” And henceforth, the fig leaf became the symbol of modesty, as you may see so often in Renaissance art.

Moreover, the fig is also a nutrition powerhouse – an excellent source of potassium, calcium, manganese and vitamin B6. So all the more seize the opportunity to load up on figs this season! Here is one idea how: make a Fig Galette!

The word Galette is derived from the French word “galet”, a weatherworn smooth pebble. In culinary terms, this refers to various types of flat cakes, including the crepe-like pancakes of Brittany and Normandy (Galette De Bretagne) as well as freeform pies. Today we are interested in the latter, because, what’s better than filling a dough purse stuffed full of bubbling roasty figs? Traditionally made with a butter-based pie crust or puffed pastry, I never thought that a vegan version was possible. Not until I came across several recipes using frozen coconut oil as substitute. I was very intrigued and couldn’t wait to try it out.

In fact this was my first time making a pie dough, vegan or not, so after some extensive research, here’s what I gleaned. Pie dough is made by cutting butter (or other solid fat) into flour until the butter and flour looks crumbly and has pieces of butter the size of peas. Then, just enough water is added to form the dough into a ball. Most importantly:

Keep things cold, very cold.
It is especially important for the fat to be cold because pockets of unmelted fat within the crust that melt away during baking are what makes a deliciously flaky pie. Thus, refrigerate the oil, flour and use ice-cold water when making the dough, and work quickly.

For a tender crust
Do not overwork the dough; over handling will lead develop the fluten and lead to a tough pie crust dough. Thus, also choose a low protein flour such as pastry flour. I used a blend of pastry flour and buckwheat flour for nuttiness and to make it more nutritious. Buckwheat flour is also gluten-free so I though it may work well. Nevertheless, all-purpose flour is readily available and works well for all pie crusts. Sift the flour before measuring it.

I understand that pictures speak more than words so below is a pictorial on how to make the coconut oil pie dough.

Assembling the galette is easy. I used an almond cream base and layered the figs on top, then folded in the edges to form a mini-dumpling. So cute isn’t it?!

First of all, I was very pleased and amazed at how the dough came out. It was pliable and very easy to work with, though you need to let the dough “defrost” slightly after chilling because coconut oil becomes very hard when chilled and takes even longer than butter to melt. Second, I have to admit that the crust didn’t come out flaky at all. Nope, no beautiful layers of flaky pastry was in sight. Instead, it came out crumbly, but in an oh-so-delightful crunchy graham-cracker style. That was exactly my first thought when I bit into the crust: Mmm…graham crackers!

With the bubbling hot cinnamon-spiced figs sizzling in its sugars and in all its glory, this was pure perfigtion. Crunchy graham base with pulpy caramelized figs, and a heady almond cream to pair the two together – this galette is definitely worth making. It’s a free-form tart; you don’t need a lot of skill yet it presents a level of rustic sophistication that will surely impress. This is what I call a cheat dish!

Fig & Almond Galette
1 medium galette, about 4-5 slices.
Vegan.

Ingredients
Pie Dough

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/4 cup buckwheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, frozen until solid
  • 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water (I used 2 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Almond Cream

  • 1/4 cup almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 large medjool date, chopped
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Fig Layer

  • 3-5 figs, depending on size
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Ground cinnamon

Directions
Begin by making the galette pie dough.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubes of frozen coconut oil from the ice tray. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture until the texture becomes lumpy, with the pieces of coconut oil no larger than small peas. Add the water and knead with your hand just until the dough pulls together. Alternatively, the dough can be made using the food processor.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a round disk. Wrap tightly with a cling film and chill for at least 30 mins (can be prepared ahead).

Make the almond cream.

  1. In a food processor, combine the almonds, dates, milk and almond extract and process until smooth and creamy. Place the almond cream in a small bowl and refrigerate to thicken.

Assemble the galette.

  1. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
  2. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to a circle of 1/8″-1/4″ thick.
  3. Place the galette dough onto a baking sheet. Spread with the almond cream mixture, leaving a 1.5″ border around the edge. Arrange the figs concentrically from the center. Lift the edge of the dough and fold over filling to make a nice, crimped border.
  4. You may choose to refrigerate the dough if it has become too soft. Bake at 350°F/175°C for 45-50 mins until figs are bubbling slightly and edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

 

I just had to shove this picture up your face. Enjoy!

Gone Fishing

Since the initiation of my Instagram account I’ve been a tad tardy in my posting. Blame it on the ease and convenience of, well, instantly sharing your photos and getting almost immediate feedback. You may want to refer to @earlymorningoats for more frequent feed. I guess this means more space on this blog can be devoted to more experimental recipes apart from just oatmeals and such.

One such experiment is Gindara Misozuke, or miso-marinated black cod. While the first attempt was great, I felt the marinade still had room for improvement. Specifically many questions flood my mind: how would aka miso fare compared to shiro miso? Does 72 hours marination time really make a difference compared to 24 hours or 48 hours? How about reducing the amount of sugar and upping the miso ratio (it was slightly sweet in the first attempt). With these questions in mind I set out with some experiments.

To investigate the difference between shiro and aka miso, I used a blend of shiro/aka miso this time. I didn’t do a 100% aka as I was afraid the saltiness of aka miso might be too overpowering. I placed two gindara fillets in the marinade; the first I cooked 24 hours later, and the second 48 hours later.

Gindara Misozuke
For two cod fillets.
Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp shiro miso
  • 1 tbsp aka miso
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 pieces (90g each) gindara (black cod) fillets

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring sake and mirin to boil. Boil for about 20 secs to evaporate the alcohol.
  2. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely.
  3. Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, and stir continuously until it has dissolved completely. Leave to cool until it marinade reaches room temperature.
  4. Pat the fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fillets with the miso marinade and place in a nonreactive dish or bowl. Leave to steep in the refrigerator overnight or until 3 days.
  5. Before cooking, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly wipe off any excess marinade clinging to the fillets but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish in oven and broil until the surface of the fish turns brown (about 12-15 min).

 

First off, I was glad I did not use a 100% aka miso as this time the taste veered towards the salty spectrum. My preference lies toward shiro miso and probably 2 tbsp of shiro miso would give the best balance between sweet and savouriness.

Second, what a difference 24 hours make! There was a discernible difference between the 24 and 48 hour marinated cods; the latter boasting a deeper, more intense taste. So really the two days of waiting is highly recommended, and three days all the more better. After all, you just let the fish sit in the fridge and let Time take its course; so effort whatsoever! So I’ve investigated the variables of miso type and time, and I hope by the next few tries, I can nail down a reliable recipe with great tasty results.

The first night I served the gindara with savoury steel cut oats cooked in chicken herbal soup. That was one of the few tries at savoury oats, which previous experiences did not leave me particularly enamoured. I think savoury oats works best with steel cut versus rolled. After it cooled down and thickened, the textured reminded me of grits (funny to say this as I never had polenta before but that’s what I imagine it to be). After all is said and done, I’ll still stick with sweet fruity oats.