Chi fa buns
Once in a while, you come upon a perfect recipe, so good that nothing out there can compare. This is one of those rare recipes. It makes better chi fa buns than any store-bought ones. I am nearly reluctant to give the recipe away but because my friend Flora (one of the top 3 cooks I know) so willingly shared her recipe, so will I. The only thing I ask is that you give Flora credit for it; I've noticed that once a recipe is out there on the net, it's anybody's loot.
I googled for chi fa bun to check what the English name for this Chinese snack is called, but couldn't find anything. This sweet snack is available everywhere in Malaysia for breakfast or tea time. My ex-colleagues taught me the Hakka name (trust it to the Hakkas to call a spade a spade) for these glutinous rice balls, and it is a hilarious name that refers to a part of the male anatomy when powdered. I needn't go on because I'm told many times that children read this blog. Does anyone know what these snacks are called in Mandarin?
Chi fa bun is really Chinese mochi with a peanut-sugar filling. Sold for about 70 sen a piece, chi fa bun is a yummy snack that you can easily make at home. I once made 120 chi fa buns for a church bazaar, all in less than 2 hours. Not only are they easy to make, the powdery balls (what else can I call them) are inexpensive and quite light in calories.
The freshest peanut brittle from Tawau
I prefer a slightly firmer and less sweet version so I've given my adapted recipe besides Flora's . You can make the filling from peanut brittle like I do, or you can toast some peanuts, pound or grind them up and add fine sugar.
Chi Fa Bun
2 3/4 cups* glutinous rice flour...)
2 3/4 cups water .........................)...'A'
3/4 cups fine sugar**..................)
extra glutinous rice
2 cups peanut brittle, pounded or grounded
*I prefer a slightly firmer bite so I use 3 cups
**I use 1/4 cup but this may not be sweet enough for some
1. Mix & steam 'A' in a cake tin for 20 to 25 minutes under medium-high heat. Meanwhile, bake the extra glutinous rice flour for 5 to 7 minutes, making sure it doesn't brown (this is so you don't eat raw glu rice flour, which may taste, well, raw. However, store-bought chi fa buns are packed in unbaked glu rice flour; they just don't bother and that's why store-bought chi fa buns don't taste as good as these). Pound, crush or grind the peanut brittle (depending on whether you want a fine or coarser filling) or make your own peanut filling with roasted peanuts and fine sugar.
When batter is done, let it cool 1 minute.
2. While still hot, drop the sticky dough by the spoonful (use another spoon to scrape the sticky dough off) onto the baked flour and make sure the dough is coated all over.
3. Use your flour-dusted fingers to stretch the cooked dough into flat rounds. Don't make the wrapping rounds too thick (will taste too doughy) or thin (will break & filling will spill out). Put a large spoonful of peanut filling into the center, gather the sides up and pinch to seal well. Roll in the baked flour so it doesn't stick to other balls. Makes 20 to 25 balls.