Muffins: green tea, red beans and pine nuts

Inspired by the visual effect of this cake on Obachan’s Kitchen – the sliced black soya beans amidst the green cake, I decided that today’s rapid-baking session to fulfil urgent take-away snack needs would comprise my faithful muffin recipe, spiced up by matcha, azuki beans and pine nuts.

[N.B.: If you want to stick more strictly to anti-candida principles, then omit the pine nuts and replace dairy milk with alternatives, and perhaps avoid the green tea too. Guess that leaves you with a red bean muffin!]

muffin-green-tea-red-bean.jpg

Ingredients & baking notes:

1) 2 tsp matcha green tea powder for 2 cups of flour. This is the quantity I derived from making green tea glutinous rice balls. A very delicate matcha flavour and I think I could have used more in the muffins as wholemeal flour has a stronger taste compared to white flour so unless you are paying attention, the green tea flavours might just pass unnoticed. The brown colour of the muffin is from the wholemeal flour, no sign of green tea at all (no wonder so many commercial green tea products use colouring).

2) I cooked 1/2 cup dried red beans using this method. Cook till just soft and not disintegrated, and make sure they are dry enough to separate out into individual beans before mixing into the batter.

3) The pine nuts were roasted beforehand, by dry-frying in a skillet over very low heat.

4) Just over 1/4 cup of white sugar went in. I wasn’t sure what would be the appropriate amount to balance out the bitterness of the matcha and the bean taste. In the end, I think there wasn’t enough green tea taste and I could have used a little less sugar (or perhaps none at all, in which case everyone else in my family would be spitting this out at the first mouthful).

5) Decided to use butter instead of vegetable oil today.

Verdict: it was OK tastewise, but I think the main problem is that I don’t like the texture of this muffin recipe anymore. It seems too close-textured and sort of gummy. And they don’t rise enough to produce those enticing giant cracks on the top. [13/2/08 update: reheated the frozen muffin in microwave for a snack, and somehow they seem very nice today!?! The texture is crumbly and light - maybe they just needed a bit more cooking time? Useful to slightly underbake muffins that will all be frozen, so that the reheating won't dry them out too much. The pine nuts and red beans are great but not enough green tea taste.]

I got rather sick of these muffins after a period where I was making a big batch of them once every week or every fortnight (in the days when the only food intolerance friendly snacks I made were muffins and scones). Today was the first time in many months that I’d made them but no, I’m still sick of them.

Looks like it’s time to be more adventurous with my basic muffin recipe. I used to avoid ones that use buttermilk because it’s so expensive, but now that I know some substitutes for buttermilk, there’s no excuse not to try them .

12/6/08 update: made these muffins again as I needed a sugar-free snack (omitted sugar this time) for bento. Increased the amount of green tea powder to 2 1/2 Tbsp and it was great. Also, the texture is definitely slightly gummy. A check on various troubleshooting websites suggests that there’s too much liquid. I also wonder if I have been over-mixing the batter…

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6 Responses

  1. Hi Hi,

    I love your site!!!! I’m glad to chance upon it. I am also into healthy eating and cooking, really happy to find someone else who’s into failsafe cooking here. Looking fwd to learn more from u! Thanks!

  2. Hi, this muffin sounds interesting! I will like to try a green tea with red beans muffin or bread soon. I will also like to try making my own red bean paste. May I ask which type of red beans did you get? can we get uncooked azuki beans here? or just the ordinary red beans will do? I made red bean soup yesterday, the texture of the red beans was not so nice…should have use those bigger ones which they call 赤豆?

  3. Hi Gabrielle,
    Glad to meet another like-minded cook :)! Please do be careful that not all my recipes are Failsafe – my tolerance to salicylates has improved over the last 8 months so I do include non-Failsafe ingredients, even though I do bear Failsafe principles in mind and try to stick to them a large part of the time.

    Hi Happy Homebaker,
    Uh oh, I’m not aware of different kinds of red beans! I have always treated azuki beans and red beans (红豆) as the same, and wasn’t aware of 赤豆! Thanks for the info, I will keep an eye out for more info on this.

    Usually I buy organic dried red beans from any health food store or organic section of supermarkets. Often the organic packets seem to be of higher quality than regular supermarket ones because the spoilt or flawed beans have been picked out. Perhaps the freshness of the beans also plays a part?

    You could also try shopping for Japanese azuki beans in one of the Japanese supermarkets perhaps?

  4. Hi, thanks for your reply! I shall try out using the normal red beans.

  5. hey i would like to know how many calories are in each muffin. thanks stew

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