Banh Pia – Mung Bean Pastry Cake

Banh bia is an Asian sweet (similar to a moon cake) that is a fusion of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. It has layers of flaky pastry that encase a filling made of mung bean and chunks of candied winter melon for pops of flavour and texture. Our family recipe is so simple and easy that you won’t bother buying them ever again!

I was once that person who didn’t want to try things because they looked too hard. My fear of failure was the reason I never attempted these cakes for the longest time. The thing that got me was when you cut the cake, there are so many layers of pastry. I honestly believed you had to wrap each layer individually to get all the layers… UH WRONG! This cake is actually soooooooooooo easy if you give it a chance. I promise it will work for you first time!

Candied Winter Melon

Our version is much simpler than the ones you buy at the Asian groceries. The main differences are:

  • We do not add pig fat or any other type of animal fat to the filling or pastry. I know it is traditional to add this ingredient but I personally prefer not to have it.
  • We do not add the salted egg to the filling. I don’t like the salted egg, so we have omitted it from the recipe. If you do, then simply add it in.
  • We have omitted durian since it is really hard to get where I live.

So our recipe is fairly basic but I promise it tastes good. Of course this recipe can be used as a base and you can fancy it up however you like.

Tips

  1. The first day or two, the pastry of the cake is going to be brittle and flakey. If you leave it uncovered in the fridge, it will become more flakey which is how I prefer it. If you cover it with cling wrap, the pastry will absorb the oil from the filling and become more soft. My mum prefers it this way.
  2. If you are needing these moon cakes for an event, then ideally make them 2 days in advance.

Making the Mung Bean Filling

  1. Boil the mung bean for roughly 30 minutes in 3 cups of water.
  2. Once the mung bean is mushy and most of the water has been absorbed or evaporated, it is ready to be blitzed.
  3. Blitz the mung bean into a nice smooth puree.
  4. Cook the mung been in a non-stick pan until becomes solid and has the consistency of a bread dough. Let it cool and mould into balls.

Preparing the Pastry

  1. Using a rolling pin, flatten the outer dough into roughly 12 cm x 5 cm rectangle.
  2. Place the inner dough in the middle of the rectangle and with your fingers, spread it out.
  3. Using the palm of your hand, flatten the inner dough out. Try to not spread the inner dough all the way to the edge of the outer dough.
  4. Roll the dough up tightly with your fingers.
  5. Using the rolling pin, press down on the dough about four times. With your fingers, push the sides in to make straight edges. This is done to avoid the insides of the dough spilling out when flattening out with the rolling pin
  6. Flatten the dough out with your rolling pin.
  7. Fold the dough roughly into two thirds.
  8. Fold the other half over to make a square.
  9. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin to roughly 12 – 13 cm edges.

Wrapping the Cakes

  1. Take out the mung bean balls from the fridge.
  2. Lay the pastry over the mung bean ball.
  3. Use your bottom hand to push the filling up into the pastry while pulling the pastry down with your top hand.
  4. Once the filling is nestled tightly into the pastry, turn it over.
  5. Pull the furthest edges to the middle.
  6. With your thumb and index finger, squeeze and mould the pastry towards the middle. If there is too much filling, take some out to make it easier. To avoid rips and breakages, do not try to pull the edges together with the tips of your fingers. Use the technique described in the picture.
  7. Close the cake up. Don’t worry about making it look perfect. The more you stretch the dough, the more likely it will break and end up in a mess.
  8. Lay the cake on a flat surface and gently squash it down with your palm.

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Mung Bean Pastry Cake - Banh Pia

Banh Pia – Mooncake

Course Cake, Snack
Cuisine Chinese, Vietnamese
Keyword Banh Pia
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Author Scruff

Ingredients

Outer Dough

  • 200 gm plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 70 gm warm water
  • 35 gm caster sugar
  • 45 gm canola / vegetable oil

Inner Dough

  • 150 gm plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 45 gm canola / vegetable oil

Mung Bean Filling

  • 250 gm dried mung beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 gm sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract / paste
  • 50 gm candied winter melon, chopped into small chunks (available at Asian groceries)

Thickener

  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp glutinous flour
  • 1 tbsp water

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 – 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

Red Markings

  • red food colouring (optional)

Instructions

The Outer Dough

  1. Put a medium sized mixing bowl on the kitchen scales. Measure and add the dough ingredients one at a time. The weight after adding each ingredient in the order of the recipe is 200 gm, 270 gm, 305 gm and 350 gm.

  2. Use a wooden spoon to combine and then knead with your hands for 5 minutes.

  3. Cover the dough with cling wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

The Inner Dough

  1. Put a mixing bowl on kitchen scales. Measure and add the dough ingredients one at a time. The weight after adding each ingredient in the order of the recipe is 150 gm and 195 gm.

  2. Use a wooden spoon to combine and then knead with your hands for 5 minutes.

  3. Cover the dough with cling wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Mung Bean Filling (Use the progress pictures for help)

  1. In a pot on medium heat, add the mung bean, water and salt. Cook for roughly 30 minutes or until the mung bean becomes soft. Be sure to stir the mung bean to avoid burning once most of the moisture has been absorbed or evaporated.

  2. Add the sugar to the mung bean and use a stick blender / food processor to blitz until smooth.

  3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-low heat and add the mung bean puree. Cook and continuously stir for 10 minutes.

  4. In a small bowl, make the thickener by combining the cornflour, glutinous flour and water.

  5. Add the thickener to the mung bean one third at a time. After each time stir until completely mixed through before adding more.

  6. Add the oil and cook for roughly another 10 – 15 minutes or until the mixture combines and becomes nearly thick like play dough but a bit softer.

  7. Once done, take off the heat and stir through the vanilla and chopped candied winter melon. Allow to cool.

  8. Once cool enough to handle, roll the mung bean filling into balls of roughly 80 gm each. Put it in fridge covered until needed.

Making the Cakes (Use the progress pictures for help)

  1. Weigh the outer dough and divide it into 10 equal portions. They should be roughly be 35 gm each. Keep the dough covered with a tea towel to avoid them drying out.

  2. Repeat with the inner dough. They should be roughly 19 gm each.

  3. Please refer to the pictures and instructions above to wrap the moon cakes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 392 F fan forced.

  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and bake the cakes for 15 minutes upside down at 200 C / 392 F fan forced.

  6. Take the cakes out and flip them over. Brush the egg wash over top of the cakes.

  7. Bake the cakes for another 5 minutes at 200 C / 392 F fan forced.

  8. Take them out and let them cool on a rack.

  9. Store them in the fridge uncovered for 1 -2 days before eating.

2 thoughts on “Banh Pia – Mung Bean Pastry Cake

    1. Hi Thanh! I think that a neutral oil would be best since it will not impart flavour on the the cake. However, I have not tried it before and I may be wrong. Hope that helps. Thank for dropping by!

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