Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sweet Beans.

The Chinese do interesting things with sweet bean paste, but the idea does not seem to be popular in the West – at least, it is not currently popular. Why is this so? We are not shy of using beans in other ways, and the starchy texture is an ideal carrier for sugar.

The exigencies of wartime motivate all sorts of adaptations, and earlier this year I quoted from an article from the Washington Post during World War I which included some ideas for using lima beans in desserts. To summarise the relevant section – the writer said:“The pulp of lima beans is particularly sweet and delicious. If combined with beaten egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites it makes a soufflé or baked custard which is most delicious and nourishing, especially for children.”

Perhaps, here in the West, most of us have too many sweet alternatives in the midst of our general overabundance, or perhaps our current disinterest in sweet bean pulp is simply a matter of fashion. Are recipe ideas like the following, from the sixteenth century, due for revival?

To make a tarte of beans.
Take beanes and boile them tender in faire water/then take them out and breake them in a morter and strayne them with the yolkes of iiii egges/curd made of milke/then season it up with suger and halfe a dishe of butter and a litle synamon and bake it.
A Propre newe Booke of Cokery, 1545

Quotation for the Day.

But since he stood for England
And knew what England means,
Unless you give him bacon
You must not give him beans.

1 comment:

Les said...

I just bought some adzuki beans to try my hand at making sweet red bean paste but don't know what to put the past in. The lima bean recipe looks delicious.