soothes an expatriate
Comfort food is a warm stew, a creamy bowl of pudding, a steaming bowl of bean soup. Or, it's a bun stuffed with sweet, mashed beans.
"One of my comfort foods is "an pan," and unfortunately I need to drive to San Francisco to get them," writes Tom Goya of Sonoma, Calif.
Goya is a former Volcano resident; his wife is from Waialua. Goya is a frequent reader of www.starbulletin.com, our Web site, and, like many of our mainland readers, is hungry for a treat that's easy to get in Hawaii but a challenge to find elsewhere.
An pan is a Japanese pastry -- a baked bun filled with azuki, or red bean, paste. The ingredients are simple, available in most supermarkets, although Goya might have to seek out an Asian grocery in Sonoma to find the beans. The filling may be made from scratch using dried beans, or from prepared canned beans.
This recipe is from "Cook Japanese Hawaiian Style," by Muriel Kamada Miura, printed in 1974. Miura, now Kaminaka, was front woman for home economists at the Gas Co. back then, known for her cooking demonstrations, television appearances and a series of no-nonsense cookbooks. "Cook Japanese" is now out of print.
To make Koshi An: Wash beans and soak in water overnight. Drain; place in pot and cover with water. Simmer until tender, 60 to 90 minutes. Add more water as needed.
An Pan1 package activated dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour, sifted
1 egg yolk, beaten in 1 tablespoon water or melted butter, to coat buns
Toasted sesame seeds
>> Koshi An (see note)
1 pound lima or azuki beans
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
Grind beans, then strain through a sieve, discarding outer skins. Use a muslin bag to squeeze out excess water.
Add sugar and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to hold shape. Cool.
To make An Pan: Soften yeast in warm water. Combine boiling water, shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm.
Add softened yeast. Add eggs; mix well. Add enough flour to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead on lightly floured board. Place in greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until double in bulk, 60 to 90 minutes.
Punch down; shape into a smooth ball. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and flatten to form circles. Fill with 1 tablespoon Koshi An and pinch edges together to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet; brush tops with egg wash or butter; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let stand until double in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake buns 15 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen.
Note: Prepared Koshi or Tsubu (unstrained) An is sold in Asian sections of supermarkets, and either may be substituted in this recipe. You'll need about 2 1/2 cups.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per bun (based on 3 dozen): 200 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein.*
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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