- 2 cups red beans (aka azuki beans) (14 ounces: 400 grams)
- 1 pound glutinous rice flour (1 package mochiko)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar (white, brown, or cane sugar)
Moisten rice flour:
- Put the rice flour in a large bowl.
- Mix 1¼ cup cold water and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl and pour it into the rice flour a little by little. Mix up the rice flour and break up as many lumps as you can with a wooden spoon or rice scoop, for about 2 minutes.
- To totally remove the lumps, put them between your palms, rub them together, and break the lumps apart. Mix the dry and damp flour together in the bowl. Keep doing it until all the lumps are broken and the rice flour is evenly wet.
- Put all the rice flour into a plastic bag and refrigerate at least for 2 hours, and as long as overnight.
Cook the beans:
- Rinse the beans in a strainer under cold running water. Drain.
- Put them in a heavy pot with 5 cups of water. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over medium high heat.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 hour. The beans will cook in the residual heat of the hot water and expand.
- After an hour, there should still be enough water in the pot to submerge the beans. If there isn’t, add more.
- Cook another 30 minutes over medium low heat. Check the water level about 20 minutes in. If it’s too low, add a little more water so the beans don’t burn. Simmer another 10 minutes until the beans are fully cooked and easily crushed.
- Crush the beans with a wooden spoon a few times. My potato smasher works perfectly, just be sure not to crush them too much. They should still be lumpy and have texture.
- Add a ½ teaspoon of salt and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Cool it down.
Prepare the rice cake to steam:
- Take the steamer basket out of your large steamer and place it on the countertop so you can build your rice cake in it.
- Add 2 inches of water to the steamer and bring it to a boil.
- Place a large cotton cloth (or hemp cloth) in the steamer basket and put a cake ring in the center of the cloth. I use my 8 inch springform after removing the bottom and it works nicely.
- Put 1¼ cup red beans into the ring and flatten it out. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over top.
- Add 1¼ cup rice flour to the beans and flatten it out.
- Repeat 2 more times with the beans, sugar, and rice flour to make a 3 layer rice cake. Finish it with a final layer of red beans and sugar on top.
- Wrap the ends of the cloth around the top of the rice cake.
Steam the rice cake:
- When water is boiling, put the steamer basket with the rice cake inside the steamer. Steam over medium high heat for 40 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the steamer basket. Grab the ends of the cloth and carefully lift the rice cake out of the steamer basket and on to a large cutting board. Let it cool down for 20 to 30 minutes until you can handle it with your hands
- Gently pull out the cloth from underneath the rice cake. Remove the springform and cut the whole cake into quarters.
How to serve:
- Separate each layer from the rice cake and serve right away with tea. If you want, put some extra sugar in a small bowl for dipping.
- If you have leftovers, freeze them while they’re still fresh and soft. First divide into portions, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Put the portions into another plastic bag, and freeze. Then when you want to have some rice cake, take out as many portions as you want, thaw them out at room temperature (or in the microwave for 1 minute) and serve.