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Red Bean in Green Tea Buns - Matcha Anpan (抹茶あんぱん)

At recent trip to Mediya, I stumbled upon packets of prepared red bean paste sold alongside bags of mochi rice cakes that look and feel like tiny bars or discs of white soap. But they taste better than soap, of course! Once at a yakitori place, I had a small bowl of cold red bean served with just a single snowy white ball of mochi rice cake sitting right in the centre. Thinking to re-create the dessert, I grabbed 2 packets of the prepared red bean paste and a bag of the mochi rice cakes.

But today's post is not about that dessert, since I didn't take any photos of it as I hurriedly gobbled it down. Next time, okay?

The reason I grabbed 2 packets of the prepared red bean paste was that one was the coarse grain type while the other was the smooth paste version. Typical of me when I can't decide, I just got both.

I made dessert with the coarse grain version and it came close to what I had in the restaurant. I was so happy, until I realised I am missing the yakitori. Dang!

Anyway, today's post is not about the dessert. Oh, I said that already? Sorry.

After deciding that coarse grainy version goes well with mochi rice cakes, I had to think of what to do with the other packet of smooth red bean paste.

Then I recalled reading about red bean buns from Cherie's Red Bean Bun and me commenting that I will someday try it for breakfast. Yes, I am a procrastinator. How did you know?

As with all my making of Japanese foods, my #1 source will be Anpan is such a big thing with them that they created a separate thread for all recipes related to its making. Makes the search all the more breezy.

If only all marriages in the world are as successful as that of the green tea and red beans, the world will be filled with more people who will enjoy these matcha anpan.

When I licked the red bean paste off the spoon, I was worried that I have filled the buns with too much of the paste which was excessively sweet. My mom always ask why do the Japs like their food so sweet? I could only answer that since they can't find sweetness in their lives (look at their two decades of lost years), they can only look towards it in their foods. I don't know exactly when I became a worry wart. But whenever I bake bread, I worry. It's becoming second nature.

My bun shaping skill is sorely lacking and therefore I can't bring myself to show you the cross-section of the bun. Apart from that, I am quite happy with them taste-wise, except maybe for asthetics the next time round I will top with the traditional black sesame instead.

Can someone please update me on what is the price of a smooth paste red bean bun which is sold the bakery at the basement of Isetan @ Scotts? The last time (three years ago?) I bought it was S$2.00.

Red Bean in Green Tea Buns
(Matcha Anpan - 抹茶あんぱん)

200g Bread flour
3g Instant yeast
3g Fine salt
5g Caster sugar (Take note the level of sweetness of the red bean filling)
4g Green tea powder
10g Unsalted butter, softened
140g Full cream milk (Warmed, if you want to shorten the proofing process)
180g Red bean paste

1. Combine the first five ingredients in the mixing bowl of the mixer.

2. Add in the milk and knead until the dough comes together.

3. Add the butter and continue to knead until it has been thoroughly worked into the dough.

4. Cover the dough with a cling film and let it rest until double in size.

5. Portion the dough into 8 equal pieces. Weigh it if you want to. I usually just eyeball it.

6. Roll each piece into a disc no larger than the palm of your hand.

7. Place the dough disc on your palm and scoop red bean paste onto it. Seal the bun and place it seam side down on a greased baking sheet.

8. Cover the buns on the baking sheet with a cling film and let it proof until double in size.

9. Remove the cling film and brush the tops of the buns with either egg wash or milk. Drop some sesame seeds on top and bake at 190 degC for 12 - 15 min.


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