Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How to Make: Steamed Red Bean Tapioca Jelly Cake (Hong Kong Bakery Sweet)

''Steamed Red Bean Tapioca Jelly Cake.''  Sounds like an interesting combination of words?  Well it is a delicious common item to see in Hong Kong Asian Bakeries.  It is also always sold in bakeries in Vancouver, Canada for about $1.29 a piece.  Not only do they look beautiful but they are so delicious.  The tapioca turns clear when it is finished cooking and has an incredibly gooey- chewy-ness to them.  You can use tapioca or sago pearls, they both work here. Tapioca pearls are made with tapioca starch and sago is made with potato starch.  Traditionally, they are filled with Red Bean Paste but you could try it with other pastes such as lotus, taro etc.  It is incredibly easy to make, and the end result is almost like a not-so stringy Japanese daifuku mochi, with half the mess. I made mine in a 16.5 cm by 7 cm square baking tin but an 8 inch tin will do too.  You can put it in any moulds you want, even muffin tins, but the times will vary depending on the thickness of the pearls. Give it a try, you'll impress your taste buds and your guests!  This recipe is adapted from Christine's Recipes of Steamed Tapioca Red Bean Cake.  Be sure to check out Christine's Recipe Blog! Click Here.

How to Make: Steamed Red Bean Tapioca Jelly Cake
Yields: One 16.5 cm by 7 cm loaf - about 4 servings
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes


  • Steamer:
1. Turn on the steamer.
       **If you don't have a steamer, take an inverted small bowl or shallow plate and place it on the bottom of the pan.  Then fill with water until it reaches half of the plate or bowl.  Then place the cake on top of the bowl/plate and cover with a lid.

  • For the tapioca/sago:

1.  Put the tapioca pearls or sago in a bowl and pour cool water until it completely covers the pearl.

2.  Allow it to soak for 45 minutes, the pearls will swell and become soft.

3. Drain it, and lightly use a paper towel to remove excess moisture, but don't press too hard or else the pearls will break.
Steps 2 to 6
1.  In a bowl, add in the drained tapioca/sago pearls, sugar and oil.  Stir lightly.

2. In the tin, lined with either parchment paper (use muffin liners if using a muffin tin) or lightly greased with oil, add in half of the tapioca/sago mixture to the bottom of the tin and spread evenly.

3.  Now add in the red bean paste, and create an even layer.

4. Top with the remaining tapioca/sago mixture and press firmly with a back of a spoon, especially around the edges.

5.  Put it in the steamer and steam it until the pearls are completely translucent.  For a 16.5cm x 7 cm or 8 inch loaf tin, it will take approximately 50 minutes.  For muffin tins, they will take only 30 minutes.

6. Turn the heat off and leave the cake inside the steamer.  Allow it to cool down.  It will harden a little and it will be perfect for slicing (about an hour or so).

7. Take it out of the tin by inverting it onto a serving dish. Remove the parchment paper.

**If not using parchment paper, run you knife around the cake to loosen the edges and invert it on to a serving plate.

8.  Divide into 4 or more slices with a non-serrated knife for clean cuts.

There you go!  Delicious and super simple Steamed Red Bean Tapioca Jelly Cake!

Tips and Advice:
  • Be sure to leave the cake at room temperature and consume with in two days.  If the cake begins to harden, it is because of the temperature of the room being too cold.  To restore to the delicious-ness stage, put in the microwave for 15 seconds and you've got it nice and gooey again!
  • Don't undercook it or else it will taste chalky.
  • Make sure you soak it for 45 min or even overnight as this will affect the time it needs in the steamer.  If you soak it overnight, it might steam and be ready faster so adjust the cooking time until it's done.
Delicious and beautiful! 


  1. I love this...very tasty with red bean filling.

  2. I have never seen anything like this before - how cool!

  3. You asked where you could get chocolate covered banana chips and because I really appreciate your feedback on my blog, I set you up, go to: http://thechocoaholic.blogspot.com/2011/06/chocolate-covered-banana-chips.html

  4. Great tutorial Chewie! Love, love Asian food. Will keep watching your blog. Thank you!

  5. wow..lipsmacking gooood..
    love your space...:)
    very interesting posts with gorgeous cliks..
    keep the yummy posts coming..
    Tasty Appetite

  6. happy following u..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  7. Yummy! Love this first picture, too pretty to eat.

  8. Very interesting, not sure I am sold, love tapioca but just looks funny. I guess I will have to try and be the judge. Thanks for sharing something new to us.

  9. That looks like one delicious dessert!

  10. Looks like a very interesting recipe... Yummm!!

  11. @NMOS It sure is! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. @easyfoodsmithYes! It is an unusual recipe especially to Westerners. Thanks for stopping by.


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