Right Recipe Wrong Ingredients

You can have the best recipe ever but if you have the wrong ingredients your food is not going to look like the photo in the cookbook.

Baking Powder – Baking Soda – what’s the diff?   Baking is baking after all.

I’m assuming you know the difference so I’ll skip the explanation and move right into last week’s culinary experiment.

Chinese Sesame Seed Rolls – tasty little fried morsels rolled in sesame seeds with a sweet filling of red bean paste.

Both crispy and chewy 'Onde Onde', fried sesam...

Every now and then it strikes; the “I can do anything mentality.”  Why go to a restaurant when I should be able to make these at home.  I was planning to buy the red bean paste until a friend said it was easy to make, her mother made it all the time.  I’m a mother too. I should be able to do this.  Right?

Red Bean Paste

Red beans

Optimistically I researched recipes.  First the Red Bean Paste.  Although all the recipes started with dried beans and many specified the specific Oriental bean required I had a can of red beans in the pantry.  Why not?  The basics of red bean paste are to cook the beans until soft, mash them, add sugar (either white or brown), and finally cook again, this time in oil.

Nothing seemed right as I worked through the steps.  For example, when mashed the canned red beans white inside seemed to be the prominent color and the red skins looked just like that, bits of red skin.  But once the sugar was added the color seemed to darken – what kind of food miracle was this?  By the time I was frying the kind of red glump I had in the oil it got darker and suddenly I realized I actually had Red Bean Paste…Hooray.  Apparently in this case The Wrong Ingredients still worked in the Right Recipe.

The Dough Ingredients

The main two ingredients for the Sesame rolls are sesame seeds and rice flour.  At my local Kroger I had several brands of sesame seeds to choose from but rice flour, where oh where would a grocery store hide rice flour.  It wasn’t in with the other oriental foods; more surprising to me it wasn’t in the flour section.  In desperation I did the unthinkable and asked an employee for help.  Rice flour, of course, it’s in the health food section.    Triumphant I returned home to master this recipe.

What Went Wrong

Two kinds of rice flour

Before actually cooking I went back to my trusty dusty home computer to compare a few recipes and be sure they were all similar.  That’s when I discovered my major wrong ingredient.  Seems there are two, that’s right, count’em up, two types of rice flour.  Regular, which I had, and sweet, which is specified in every sesame seed roll recipe.  In fact entire web pages were written on how regular rice flour would not produce a decent sesame seed roll.

Here’s the dilemma; I had blocked out time to make these delicacies.  I was ready to make the rolls. How bad could the rolls be if I used the regular rice flour I had purchased.   Making the rolls is easy.  The one problem I had was putting too much red bean paste into each roll.  For the size rolls I wanted it took less than a 1/8 of a teaspoon.  That’s not much.  According to the recipes I read the hard part is the frying.  You have to keep the rolls rolling.  Even that part was easy.

There’s no photo of my rolls because “they” the experts are right.  I shouldn’t have used the rice flour I did.  The rolls were heavy and thick, not at all what I wanted.   Looked good, tasted – well at least the dogs would eat them.

Once I get to a more urban environment; one that has a market with more flour choices I’ll try again.  I have the right recipe, now I just need the right ingredients.


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