Liang Yuan is an old time snack in Taiwan. Sold by uncles on pushcarts, displayed on blocks of ice. But of course…. not all are sold that way nowadays.

I didn’t know of this, until my mom, an avid fan of Taiwanese cooking shows told me about it.
My friend said, it’s not that nice to eat.. hmmm…. So, should I try?
I thought.. no harm to try. And so I did.

I cooked some red bean soup, the usual way that I will, and ladled out around 2 cups of beans plus some of the sweet soup. Then I pureed the cooked red beans and poured them into a non stick pan, added more sugar and 1 Tbsp of oil and started cooking it to a paste. When it reached a sticky pasty state, like thick oatmeal, I turned off the heat and let it cool down in the pan. I rolled 20 pieces of red bean balls, around the size of a calamansi or a small fishball. I kept them in the fridge, until I made the ‘skin’ the next day.

After I made the filling, I didn’t taste it, except to test the sweetness. I only tasted it, really tasted it when I completed the whole thing, and it was good, and I liked it. I brought the rest to work and my colleagues liked them as well. I think… maybe it’s due to the way we cook red beans here. We grew up eating red beans with pandan aroma, and if we were to eat it in Taiwan… that particular aroma might be missing or if they use factory made red bean paste, I think, it won’t taste as good as home made ones that is tailored to our liking.

The skin is tasteless but I like the texture. It turns slightly opaque upon cooling. How nice it is depends on how nice the filling is. And so, if you were to try this, I recommend that you make your own bean paste, either mung bean paste, lotus seed paste or red bean paste according to your liking if you want best results.And home made pastes are also less oily, this way, the sticky batter will adhere and coat the fillings better.

Liang Yuan (Cool Rounds) 凉圆

Reference: Video here
Makes around 20 pieces

1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 drinking water
slightlly less than 1/2 cup boiling water

20 red bean balls (size of a small lime/fishball)
Non stick paper or bamboo leaves for steaming (I used banana leaf)

1. Mix both starches together with drinking water.
2. Boil some water and measure 1/2 cup and pour almost all in. Then stir. The batter will thicken. *
3. Put one red bean ball into the batter and cover it with batter. Lift up the ball with a fork and place it on a paper/leaf.
4. Steam the coated balls on high heat for 3-4 minutes, until the skin looks transparent.
5. Serve the cool rounds on top of ice.

* I used 1/2 cup, it was too thick for me. I added tap water to thin it to a stretchy ‘coat-able’ consistency。