Okay I know you will not spend money on a mooncake mold (which is surprisingly cheap!) and have no interest to make your own mooncake. It’s a foreign food and you don’t even know what exactly it is. It’s totally okay. I have been trying to put more practical recipes on the blog, but sometimes I also want to reserve some space for food that means to me.
It’s almost Mid-Autumn Festival. I haven’t been back to Shanghai and celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with my family for years, but I love it even more than Chinese New Year. Mid-Autumn Festival is a more intimate family gathering. Only your closest family members will get together, enjoy a big dinner, eat mooncakes and watch what supposes to be the brightest and roundest moon of the year.
There are a lot of different kinds of mooncakes, with different fillings and crusts. Almost every region has a slightly different one. If you let me, I can talk to you about mooncakes for days; but I’m not gonna do that here (just to save you from boredom) Long story short, this year I decided to make my own. I quickly chose the easiest recipe with the fewest required ingredients and ordered a mooncake mold on Amazon.
The Pumpkin & Purple Yam Mooncakes I made are definitely unconventional. Mooncakes are usually very sweet, very dense and thus not very healthy. This is a part of the reason why I don’t want store bought mooncakes this year. I made two versions of the mooncake – one with rice flour & sweet rice flour and steam to serve; the other one just has purple yam & red bean filling. Both of them are super delicious!
The pumpkin one is best eaten warm as it has sweet rice flour, just like how mango sticky rice always tastes better warm. The purple yam can be enjoyed both cold or hot. I love how you literally are eating mashed purple yam with some red bean, but in a mooncake form!
Although neither of them is traditional mooncakes, they serve their purpose as being mooncakes. Mid-Autumn Festival is all about family. I can’t physically reunite with my family, so I eat mooncakes and miss them from here. Just imagine, if you’re now in a foreign country and you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving with your family in the States. You feel homesick but cannot find anywhere to buy a turkey. Will a homemade roasted chicken serve the purpose? Of course. And I bet that roasted chicken will be the best you’ve ever made.
I’m really glad that I made these mooncakes this year. They’re super easy to make and even you don’t have a mooncake mold, they’re still delicious to eat. Make sure to tag #herbakinglab on Instagram if you made Unconventional Pumpkin & Purple Yam Mooncakes! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival
Unconventional Pumpkin & Purple Yam Mooncakes
Yield: About 12 pumpkin mooncakes and 6 purple yam mooncakes
1. 250g pumpkin puree
2. 150g sweet rice flour
3. 40g rice flour (or sub corn starch)
4. 30g sugar
5. 120g red bean paste
Purple Yam Mooncakes:
1. 240g steamed and mashed purple yam (AKA purple sweet potato, ube, Okinawan sweet potato), about 1 medium size.
2. 60 red bean paste
1. For the pumpkin mooncakes, combine all of the ingredients except red bean paste in a bowl to form a dough. For the purple yam mooncake, peel and steam the purple yam for 20 minutes or until tender. Mash them through a sieve. Gently roll the mashed purple yam into a dough.
2. Divide the pumpkin dough into 12 small balls, 40g per ball. Divide the purple yam dough into 6 small balls, 40g per ball. Divide the red bean paste into 18 portions and roll each one into a small ball.
3. Take one mooncake dough ball and flatten it on your palm. Place one red bean ball in the centre of the flattened dough. Wrap the filing in the dough, pinching the ends and seam with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Place one mooncake ball into your mold and turn it upright on your surface. Press the plunger down until you feel resistance. Lift the mooncake mold off the table and use the plunger to push the mooncake out. Repeat with the remaining balls.
5. For the purple yam mooncakes, you can enjoy it as it is. For the pupmkin mooncakes, steam them for 12 minutes. Let cool to warm and enjoy!
1. It is actually not that hard to make a mooncake, but I know it can be still confusing especially if you don’t know what to expect. Watch this Youtube Video from 4:25 to help you visualize the assembly process!
2. The pumpkin one is best eaten warm as it has sweet rice flour, just like how mango sticky rice always tastes better warm. The purple yam can be enjoyed both cold or hot. I love how you literally are eating mashed purple yam with some red bean, but in a mooncake form!