Making Fresh Mung Bean Cake for Mid-Autumn Festival

If you are looking for an elegant and less sweet dessert for mid-autumn festival, fresh mung bean cake is a great choice. Made from mung bean paste, you can opt for various type of fillings such as red bean, black bean, sesame, etc. or non-filling version.

Since I was a child, mung bean was one of the most used ingredients in my mom’s kitchen. From banh com (Vietnamese green rice cake), tapioca dumplings, or sweet, all contains mung bean filling. But the simplest dessert of mung bean is this mung bean cake because the bean paste can be a wrapper itself, and you can even skip the filling! I’ll also share a special tip with coconut oil to create a silky, smooth mung bean cake.

Mung Bean Cake

In the past, when we made the cake at home, we didn’t have a mold, so we wrapped it in parchment paper into square shape and cut into cubes to enjoy with tea. Nowadays, with a mooncake press, making mung bean cake is much easier with more beautiful shape. You can use mooncake press to make fresh mung bean cake from mung bean, snowy mooncake from bean pastes and roasted glutinous flour, or bake mooncake like mixed nuts & fruit mooncake or mung bean paste mooncake.

I did a large batch of mung bean paste this autumn to make banh com (Vietnamese Green Rice Cake), mung bean cake, glutinous rice balls and snowy mooncake. Unfortunately, the snowy mooncake failed because of the shortage of roasted glutinous flour in my region. Finally, it became mung bean sweet and mung bean milk with pandan leaves. You see, all found the way to my stomach!

Ingredients for Mung Bean Cake

As the simplest cake I’ve ever made, you will need only one main ingredient for it: peeled, split mung bean. It’s irreplaceable because the unpeeled mung bean can’t transfer to a smooth bean paste. Mung bean paste is not only used in mung bean cake but also as a filling in many dishes like piggy mooncake, mung bean filling mooncake, glutinous rice balls, etc. You will have to soak and rinse the bean several times in at least 3-4 hours.

Beside mung bean, vegetable oil and sugar will help the paste become sweet and smooth. My mom’s secret is using coconut oil instead of peanut or sunflower seed oil. It not only increases the smoothness of the paste but also acts as a fragrant oil. If you don’t have coconut oil at home, vegetable oil is still fine, then remember to drop a bit vanilla extract in the paste.

How to make Mung Bean Cake

Skipping the filling, my mung bean cake become very quick and easy to make. You just need to boil or steam your soaked mung beans, blend them, or cook them on low heat to transfer them to a paste. Finally, easily shape them with a mooncake press, or even wrap in parchment paper like my mom did years ago.

Step 1. Make mung bean paste

After many times trying, I concluded that boiling or steaming the paste results in similar paste texture. Moreover, boiling is quicker, so I’ll share to you boiling method to make bean paste.

  • Firstly, wash, remove damaged seeds, and soak mung beans in water for 3-4 hours until they fully absorb water. In this time, if possible, you can change the water 2-3 times so that the yellow color of the beans could be drained partly. You can also soak mung beans overnight. Rinse them again until the water is clean.
  • Turn on medium heat and boil them until they soften. To make sure your beans are thoroughly cooked, you can do a “squeezing test”: squeeze a bean between your fingers, if it’s totally crushed, your beans are well cooked. Drain the boiling water as much as possible.  
  • Add sugar, cooking oil, and roasted glutinous rice flour (optional) to your cooked mung bean. Glutinous rice flour plays as a glue to connect the beans into a unified block.
  • Now, how much time you will spend for making the paste depends on the tools you have. If you have a blender, simply blend the mixture until it becomes a paste. In case the blended paste is too wet, return the paste to a cooking pan, turn on very low heat and stir continuously until it turns to a firm but smooth paste. A potato masher works too. Without any tool, you can still make it on stove. Add 1/2 cup of water to the mixture of cooked mung bean and stir it frequently on low heat to avoid burning the paste. Cook the mung beans until they stick together.
Mung Bean Cake

Step 2. Shape the paste into a fresh mung bean cake

This is the step I love the most: turning mung bean balls into cake using the mooncake press. Depend on the mold you have, roll the mung bean pastes into balls. For me, around 100g (10 tbsp) of the paste is enough for a cake. Remember that the fewer the better: it’s fine to make small cakes. Don’t make too big mung bean balls because they will exceed the volume of the mold and your cakes will become fat and ugly.

How to make mung bean cake
Rolling mung bean balls

While you are rolling each mung bean ball, cover the unused paste with cheesecloth or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying quickly.

After done rolling the dough, prepare your mooncake press. Apply an amount of coconut oil evenly on the mold to prevent sticking. Add a ball into mooncake press.

Add a ball of mung bean to mooncake mold
Add the ball into the mold

Use your fingers to flatten the ball inside the mold so that the all the patterns of the mold will be printed sharply. Besides, the dough will not slip out while you flip the mooncake press on the table.

Making mung bean cake
Flatten it

Now it’s time to press. With a medium to strong force, use your palm to press on the mooncake press, down to the table. Gently lift the press out of the cake, and there you have a beautiful mung cake to enjoy.

Pressing mung bean cake

Repeat the steps until all the balls are shaped into cakes.

Tips and tricks

Mung bean paste is too soft: It seems your paste overhydrates. To fix it, return it to a pan on low heat. Spread the dough evenly on the pan’s surface and start to stir it quickly not to let it burn. Turn off the heat once the dough is thick and firm into a block.

The paste is dry and cracked: In contrast to the above problem, your paste begins to dry. Add a bit more coconut oil to the paste and knead it to recover the moisture, then immediately cover it with plastic wrap to avoid drying out. In my recipe, I also added a bit roasted glutinous flour while cooking as a glue to stick the dough together; with it, the dough will rarely be cracked.

There are whole mung beans left in the dough: You may see some whole beans remaining in the dough, it’s normal. For me, it doesn’t matter; however, if you would like to have a perfectly smooth cake, you can try blend the paste again or smash it with potato masher or spatula.

The mold become sticky: It’s when the oil coated in the mold is not enough to avoid sticking. Take a dining tissue and swipe out the rest mung bean paste in the mold, apply another layer of coconut oil/vegetable oil onto the mold again before shaping the next cakes.

You would like to make the fillings of the cake: It’s very easy – choose one of your favorite fillings, e.g., red bean, white bean, black bean, black sesames, taro, or durian. In Vietnam, we even have savory filling made from shrimp and pork fat. With beans filling, the cooking method is totally the same with making mung bean paste. Note that once you have the fillings, reduce the size mung bean dough in each cake. Normally the ratio of wrapper and filling is 1:1.

Preserve Mung Bean Cakes

Sure, the best mung bean cake taste is when you eat them immediately. I love to have it with a cup of hot oolong tea to balance the flavor. However, to serve them in a longer time, you should preserve it in the fridge. With the mung beans soaked in 3-4 hours, you can keep the cakes up to 4-5 days maximum. Don’t extend the time because the bean paste may begin to go stale.

When preserving them in a fridge, always cover them in air-tight container. Minimize exposure to air as much as possible to keep the best flavor.

Mung Bean Cake

Fresh Mung bean Cake - Simple Recipe

Yield: 4 portions
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

If you are looking for an elegant and less sweet dessert for mid-autumn festival, fresh mung bean cake is a great choice.

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1. Make bean paste

  • Firstly, wash, remove damaged seeds, and soak mung beans in water for 3-4 hours until they fully absorb water. In this time, if possible, you can change the water 2-3 times so that the yellow color of the beans could be drained partly. You can also soak mung beans overnight. Rinse them again until the water is clean.
  • Turn on medium heat and boil them until they soften. To make sure your beans are thoroughly cooked, you can do a “squeezing test”: squeeze a bean between your fingers, if it's totally crushed, your beans are well cooked. Drain the boiling water as much as possible.
  • Add sugar, cooking oil, and roasted glutinous rice flour (optional) to your cooked mung bean.
  • If you have a blender, simply blend the mixture until it becomes a paste. In case the blended paste is too wet, return the paste to a cooking pan, turn on very low heat and stir continuously until it turns to a firm but smooth paste. A potato masher works too.
  • Without any tool, you can still make it on stove. Add 1/2 cup of water to the mixture of cooked mung bean and stir it frequently on low heat to avoid burning the paste. Cook the mung beans until they stick together. Mung Bean paste

Step 2. Shape the paste into a fresh mung bean cake

  • Depend on the mold you have, roll the mung bean pastes into balls, 100-150g/ball. Don’t make too big mung bean balls because they will exceed the volume of the mold and your cakes will become fat and ugly. While you are rolling each mung bean ball, cover the unused paste with cheesecloth or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying quickly. Mung bean cake
  • Prepare the mold: Apply an amount of coconut oil evenly on the mold to prevent sticking.
  • Add a ball into mooncake press. Use your fingers to flatten the ball inside the mold so that the all the patterns of the mold will be printed sharply.Mung bean cake
  • Now it’s time to press. With a medium to strong force, use your palm to press on the mooncake press down to the table. Mung bean cake
  • Gently lift the press out of the cake, and there you have a beautiful mung cake to enjoy.Mung Bean Cake
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 150g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 410

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Other Mung Bean Dishes

As a Vietnamese, I had a bunch of Mung Bean Recipes. Let’s try:

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