Azuki Mushi Pan

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During our first few weeks of parenthood, many veteran moms and dads reminded us that tough times will eventually pass, and we’ll be rewarded with better days in the near future. My husband and I trusted those words and kept our eyes on the prize … and after many stressful days and sleepless nights, I think the day has finally arrived!  biggrin

I’m not sure if it’s because Pon Pon is a lot more low maintenance now that she’s 3.5 months old, or we parents have gotten used the routine (or maybe it’s a combination of many things, like not sweating the small stuff anymore), but our days are much more manageable now. The baby sleeps through the night (she goes to sleep at 8:00 p.m. and doesn’t wake up until 6:00 a.m. on most days), she’s happy during the day, and she’s just so fun to be around. And when she smiles … oh my, those giggles make all those early struggles worth it.  I know that there will be many more sleepless nights to be had, but all in all, we’re in a really good, blissful place.

We’re so incredibly lucky.

My kitchen mojo has returned as well. It has become somewhat of a routine for me to go into the kitchen in the morning a few times a week and bake, before the baby wakes up. I’d turn on Today’s Show, say hello to Matt Lauer, and start mixing. I wouldn’t make anything too intricate or time consuming — just something that I can whip up in less than 30 minutes – but I really look forward to this quiet, tranquil “me” time in the morning.

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Today’s sweet – Azuki (red bean) mushi (steamed) pan (bun). I posted a similar recipe before, but I think it’s worth repeating!

Azuki Mushi Pan (小豆蒸しパン)
(Makes 5)

150 g flour
40 g granulated sugar
4 g baking powder
150 ml milk
2 tablespoons prepared azuki
Sprinkle of salt

Instruction:

① Measure and mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and azuki and mix, just enough to incorporate all ingredients. Be careful not to over mix.

② Divide and pour the mixture into 5 cupcake linings. Steam over high heat for about 15 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

➂ Cool the buns on a baking rack for a few minutes before serving.

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Few pointers:

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a steamer at home.  Simply use a large saucepan with a lid and put a steel colander basket that you use to wash vegetables with inside.
  • Don’t over mix the dough. It really makes a difference in the fluffiness of the buns.
  • Don’t steam the buns too long and make sure that your steamer is really hot before putting the buns in.
  • If you put too much water, the buns will become wet and sticky.

These little fluffy buns are one of my favorite Japanese snacks.  I like them so much better than cupcakes and have less calories since there are no oil or butter used here.  The combination of airy bun and sweet aduki beans are exquisite.  I’m going to try making the green tea flavor next time.

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I’m realizing every day how important it is to maintain a good balance in life.  Although the baby’s well-being is our upmost priority (and will continue to be), it’s still very crucial to put aside some quality time for myself … and that’s not being selfish.  On a contrary, that’s what’s best for the baby too.  Happy mom equals a happy baby.  smile

Update:

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A delicious variation of this confection is a green tea mushi pan. Simply add 2 tablespoons of matcha green tea powder with dry ingredients. They’re seriously good.

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