I've been following the event since I discovered it last year. But, I never get around to take part in it till now because I only started my blog about three months ago. This year's Merdeka Day means a lot to me because it'll be my first one back home since I left for the States in January 2007, and I haven't been home since then. I'll be flying out in less than eight hours and touch down early Sunday morning at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to reunite with my beloved family and friends. Can hardly wait!!! *Hold my breath ... Ahh ...*
Little did I realize how precious and lovely my country is till I left home. As Malaysians, we should cherish, preserve and protect the multicultural and rich heritage of our country wherever we are. I'm glad to say that it is the diversity of our country that has helped build the tolerance against and openness toward cultural differences in me.
For instance, as a Malaysian of southern Chinese descent, I like to experiment with different stuff in my cooking, baking and eating habit. You'll see that easily once you've started mingling with other Chinese from especially mainland China. (This is just my opinion based on my experience.) Of course just like any other countries, we can't expect Malaysia to be perfect, i.e. corruption-, crime-, drugs-, alcohol-free and so forth. It takes time for things to change.
So, for my virgin entry in the Merdeka Open House, I'm entering tau sar beng, or Tambun biscuits (淡汶豆沙餅) since the theme for this year's is "My Sweet Malaysia." As the theme implies, the food has to be Malaysian and sweet. The pastry is a very delicate treat with sweetened mung bean paste wrapped in flaky Chinese pastry. They can only be found in Malaysia because they were invented by some Chinese who had settled in Malaysia years ago.
The recipes that I used for Chinese flaky pastry and mung bean paste came from SeaDragon, another great Malaysian baker blogging from the Down Under. I'd have to say they're definitely a keeper! I remember I did have pandan Tambun biscuits before. So, I decided to knead in some pandan paste to half the dough for Chinese flaky pastry. So, I ended up having original and pandan tau sar beng.
Just so you wonder, my mung bean paste is dark in color because I used whole instead of skinned mung beans to make it. Yet, the taste wasn't affected! They tasted oh-so-good that they brought tears to my eyes--they reminded me so much of home!
Selamat Hari Merdeka ke semua Anak Malaysia! (In Malay: A happy Merdeka Day to all Malaysians!)
Tambun Biscuits or Tau Sar Beng 淡汶豆沙餅 (Adapted from SeaDragon's)
Makes 20 biscuits
For the Chinese flaky pastry Water dough:
100g bread flour
100g cake flour
70g lard (you can use shortening instead, but I prefer lard), at room temperature
20g powdered sugar
100ml water, or adjust as necessary
120g cake flour
60g lard (you can use shortening, but I prefer lard), at room temperature
400g mung bean paste, divided into 20 equal portions with each weighing at 20g and set aside for use later
1 egg, slightly beaten for eggwash
some white sesame seeds, to be sprinkled as "topping"
- For the water dough: Combine (A) together and sift into a mixing bowl, then cut in lard. Stir in powdered sugar to combine, followed by enough water and mix to get a soft dough, knead till it's smooth to touch. Cover it with cling wrap and set aside to let rest for 15-20 minutes
- For the oil dough: Cut 60g lard into 120g cake flour till combined, knead it till it has the same malleability/pliability as the water dough
- After the water dough has rested for 15-20 minutes, divide it and the oil dough respectively into 20 equal portions (I did this by weighing the whole deal and doing math 101 ... if you get what I mean); cover them up to let rest for another 15 minutes
- To each portion of the two dough, wrap one portion of the oil dough into one portion of the water dough and seal the edges tightly. Then, roll the combined dough out into an oval or a tongue shape and roll it up from the shorter end Swiss roll-style to get a "cigar"
Repeat with the remainder in the same manner
- To each of the "cigar," turn them 90 degrees so that they look like the capital letter "I"
Roll out again into a tongue shape and roll it up from the shorter end Swiss roll-style Repeat with the remainder in the same manner
*Refer to here for the photos on how to carry out steps 4 and 5
- Roughly round each of the rolled-up dough up
- Roll out each combined dough into a flat round disk with the center thicker than the edges, then wrap in a portion of the mung bean paste. Seal the edges tightly; repeat with the remainder in the same manner
- Arrange them on prepared baking sheet(s), then apply eggwash and sprinkle with some white sesame seeds over each
- Bake them at 200C/400F for 18-20 minutes or till light golden in color