I swear that I never like lotus seeds in desserts, not even until now… But it is very strange that I like lotus seed paste.. i personally found that commercially sold lotus seed paste is aromatic and taste different from the lotus seeds found in the Chinese desserts..
Despite the fact that I do not like lotus seeds, for the sake of lotus seed paste, I have decided to try preparing it myself. I test my patience to clean the lotus seeds one by one, boiled, mash and stir fry it …..
Hmmmm, the outcome of homemade lotus seed paste does not taste like what is sold in the store. Not only the colour, it taste exactly like cooked lotus seeds..It is understandable that since it is made of lotus seeds, it must taste like lotus seeds.. I do not think that there is anything wrong with the procedures, it is what is included in the commercially sold lotus seeds paste that puzzled me..
The taste are so consistent be it in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia. It tastes almost the same for moon cakes that are prepared by different stores in different regions. I started to suspect there must be some flavouring for lotus paste. I Goggled and I found that there is such an industrial flavouring available in the market but mostly in China. I called 3 major bakeries in Singapore and apparently, none of have heard of this flavouring. With this discovery, I am more settled and are able to justify why is there a flavour difference between home made and store bought..
If you are interested to know about the commercial flavouring, you can refer to here: 优质莲子（莲蓉）香精，含量99%，食用级.
Please don’t get me wrong that I am against the use of flavouring.. I believed that limited usage will not jeopardize our health… What I am trying to stress is that there is such a flavouring and that may explained the difference in flavour in the event that you tried out this recipe..
Home made preparation also ensure that family members or friends really eat the paste made from almost pure lotus seeds. It was in the China news that some sellers sold fake lotus paste made using potatoes paste and lotus paste flavouring. I think that is good enough to justify home preparation and you are not worry as what you put into your mouth. If you are interested to read the news, you can refer to: 部分月饼厂家用土豆加香精冒充莲蓉_新闻中心_新浪网
“Lotus seed paste is a Chinese dessert ingredient made from dried lotus seeds. It is traditionally considered as a luxurious ingredient.The process for making the paste is similar to that used to make smooth red bean paste. First, the dried seeds are stewed in water until soft and then mashed into a fine paste. The paste is then watered down to a thin slurry and passed through a sieve and into cheesecloth, with which it is squeezed dry. This produces a fine crumbly paste, which is then mixed with sugar or other sweeteners and often oil to produce a smooth, sweet paste. Due to the higher price of lotus seeds, commercially prepared lotus pastes may also contain white kidney bean paste as a filler. There are different variations with some darker, close to black in colour. Usually these have a deeper taste. (Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_seed_paste)”
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: About 1 kg of lotus seeds paste
300 grams of dried lotus seeds (without skin)
150 grams of lard or peanut oil or other cooking oil
150 grams of castor sugar
4 tablespoons of maltose
4 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour (optional)
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Soak the dried lotus seeds in cold water for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Pluck open the lotus seeds and take away the germ in between the halves. Transfer the clean lotus seeds to a pressure cooker pot. Add just enough water to cover the lotus seeds. Pressure cook for about 30 minutes or until the lotus seeds are soft.
To check the doneness of the lotus seeds, use a spoon to mash it. If it can be done easily, it is considered as done. Sift away any excess water. Transfer the cooked lotus seeds to a big sieve. Use something to mash the soft cooked lotus seeds and collect the mash lotus seeds at the bottom of the sieve.
In a wok, heat up 1/3 of the oil, add the mashed lotus seed paste and stir fry until well combined. Gradually add the sugar until it suit your taste buds. If it is too dry, gradually add in the remaining 2/3 of the oil. Once the sugar dissolves and the lotus paste dries up and does not stick to the wok, add the glutinous rice flour. Stir until well combined. Continue stirring until it resemble the texture of store bought paste. Off the heat and store in an air tight container after it was completely cooled.
You can add the sugar and oil gradually until it suits your preference. For moon cake purposes, the lotus paste need to be drier such that it will not be deformed when baked in the oven.
Once again, do not get me wrong that all store bought lotus seed pastes are unhealthy. But homemade lotus paste may taste different like cooked lotus seeds. So before you embark into this tedious assignment, you have to think carefully on the probable difference before you lay your hand. Justification for homemade lotus seeds paste is it can be less sweet and oily. In addition, what you are eating is a mouthful of lotus seeds and not some white kidney beans or potatoes.
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