>新年块乐!

>To get with the spirit of the new year, I wanted to make something special to munch on. I mean, eating is the way we celebrate Chinese New Year, right? Well, no fish up here, and we are rained in again. I didn’t much like the idea of killing the rooster for a special meal, but we always have plenty of beans, and I even had some adzuki beans left from a past trip to NY. I decided to make red bean buns. The bao dough recipe I got from Chinese Gastronomy, and I used a bean paste recipe from that old family favorite, 1,000 Chinese Recipes. It turns out that making red bean paste is easy — just like making refried beans, except with sugar. Of course, the magic ingredient is lard, which I don’t have, but the paste turned out okay. I will post a photo tomorrow if I can — there is nothing more inviting than the sight of a round little bao!
It was fun to make them — the smell of the yeast dough steaming was so cozy. I can’t remember the last time I made a loaf of white bread (10 years ago?), but I make bao two or three times a year and the novelty of white dough never wears off. No firecrackers or lion dances up here on our windy, rainy hillside, but the bao brought the spirit of the new year just a little closer.

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