Art of Tea #1: Green Tea Bean-Paste Cakes, explicated


from "Art of Tea" magazine

The Philadelphia Tea Institute has been making a systematic study of The Art of Tea magazine series.  The Art of Tea is the English version of 普洱壺藝, an irregularly-published periodical (an occasional?) on Chinese tea culture.  This English version is marketed to non-Chinese-speaking Asian countries (e.g., Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea) for whom English is a common second language, but thankfully it’s available stateside from Tearoma.  This post, my attempt at a recipe in The Art of Tea #1, will be the first in a series of comments on our studies.

Green Tea Bean-Paste Cakes, from Art of Tea #1, with my footnotes

(I’ve inserted approximate American volumes, but you might as well weigh most of these ingredients.)


600 grams  (5 cups) glutinous rice flour
150 grams (1 1/4 cup) any non-glutinous flour
(the non-glutinous flour is a transparent powder for baking, found in Cantonese supermarkets) 1
150 grams (2/3 cup) white sugar
150 grams (5.3 oz, or 10 1/2 tbsp) butter 2
600 grams red bean paste 3
450 grams any green tea brew 4



1. Make dough using glutinous rice flour, white sugar, cooked non-glutinous flour, 5 butter and the green tea.
2. Knead the dough into a loaf shape 6 and place the bean paste in the middle.
3. Sprinkle some flour over the loaf. 7
4. Fry the loaf in oil until it is golden-brown. 8
5. Cut it into pieces and serve with any nice green tea. 9


1 These glutinous and unspecified rice flours were pretty common in my area, and did the trick. Wheat is the only flour that has actual gluten in it, so “glutinous rice flour” is just sticky by analogy.

2 I used unsalted.
3 This is azuki beans and sugar. It’d be 21.2 oz, but an 18 oz can works fine.  Make sure you get the paste, and not the chunkles.
4 That’s 2 1/4 cups of liquid.  I used 5 grams of Zhu Ye Qing (Bamboo Tips) in my first batch but couldn’t taste it.  I couldn’t taste 13 grams in the second batch either.  I don’t know if it’d make more sense to put lots more tea in, or to brew something with a more obtrusive flavor.  Might as well skip the tea entirely, and drink it instead.

5 Wait, it’s suddenly “cooked non-glutinous flour” now?  Apparently, this IS a different product, which I discovered too late.

6 Not being used to metric measurements, I almost overran my mixing bowl.  And listen, junior: there’s no way all that dough is supposed to make “a loaf.”  Does the dainty treat above look anything like these monstrosities?

1 batch of dough, 2 azuki-stuffed pizzas


7 I skipped the flour-sprinkling on my first batch, and it came out better.  The dough’s not very moist, so the flour jumps ship immediately and burns in the oil, producing a dark color and a smoky flavor.

Cuter, but dirtier. About a half-batch worth.

8 I’m told peanut oil is the one to use here.

9 And lots of paper towels.


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