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Ice Cream with Beans

al b. darned Jun 25, 2011 01:34 PM

The other day we made a trip to the local Asian market to pick up a few things we like. One of those "splurges" was for a quart of green tea ice cream. We didn't notice until we got home that we didn't pick up the usual "plain" version. This one had beans (like kidney beans) in it. The beans didn't seem to add anything to the ice cream in terms of flavor or texture. They weren't bad, just a tasteless, textureless distraction. So what is the purpose of the beans?

  1. pdxgastro Jun 29, 2011 09:37 PM

    I've posted this before. There is an Italian pastry they make around Christmas time. It's a dough filled with a mixture of pureed chestnut and cocoa, and fried. Like an empanada. But pureed chestnut is hella expensive! So my mom and others substitute it with mashed chickpeas. Yes, chickpeas and cocoa. And it's great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pdxgastro
      inaplasticcup Jun 29, 2011 10:06 PM

      What an ingenious substitution, pdx. I could totally see that working. Gonna file that one away...

    2. e
      Evilbanana11 Jun 29, 2011 08:03 AM

      Very common in Asian desserts. In lots of Chinese restaurants here in Montreal they'll give you a bowl of hot red bean "porridge" at the end of the meal. Growing up eating Vietnamese desserts Azuki beans, Mung beans in sweets is comfort food for me :D

      1. s
        S_K Jun 26, 2011 04:47 PM

        Most of my friends and my husband have the same reaction to the beans in dessert thing. Growing up, we had a bean and lotus root dessert in sweetened coconut milk and I'd always steal some to freeze. The beans get wonderfully chewy when they are freshly frozen in pieces and they do give a slightly beany scent to ice cream. Now some of them love the ice cream! If you keep it and get the green tea ice cream, you can offer both choices to guests! :)

        1. ursy_ten Jun 25, 2011 11:39 PM

          I had the same reaction when visiting Singapore when I was a teenager. Relatives served us Ice Kacang, which I think is a very popular dessert, the main ingredients being red beans, shaved ice, and some kind of sweet syrup. I thought it was very strange. They also had sweet corn flavoured ice cream, which boggled my mind.

          My father is from Singapore. He has his avocado mashed roughly in a glass of milk with some sugar. I always thought it looked revolting - have never been able to bring myself to try it.

          I find cultural differences like this fascinating!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ursy_ten
            JungMann Jun 29, 2011 06:11 AM

            Avocado with milk and sugar was one of my favorite cold treats when I was kid. Corn ice cream was rarer, but also appreciated. Sweet beans, however, are where I drew the line and where my palate assimilated to American tastes. My grandmother would often shave ice for us on hot days to make halo halo with ice cream, condensed milk, purple yam, jackfruit, coconut strings, corn and a secret layer of beans, either red beans or chickpeas. Nothing set me off more than that layer of pasty earth ruining the sweet and creamy of my otherwise perfect summertime treat.

            1. re: JungMann
              inaplasticcup Jun 29, 2011 07:18 AM

              "secret layer of beans..." Love it.

              And "layer of pasty earth" is a great way to describe them if you don't like them. I'm the same way with the big beans. I actually love mung bean in dessert, can take a little azuki, but when there are pinto/kidney-like beans in my Vietnamese desserts, I usually pick half of them out.

          2. h
            Humbucker Jun 25, 2011 05:46 PM

            Sweetened azuki beans, whole or as a paste, are kind of like the chocolate of Chinese/Korean/Japanese cuisine. I'd take a sweet or dessert with them subbed for the chocolate any day.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Humbucker
              al b. darned Jun 25, 2011 10:49 PM

              These didn't seem sweet to me...just beany texture. Having another helping in a few minutes, so I will pay a bit more attention.

              1. re: al b. darned
                c
                Chowrin Jul 1, 2011 08:10 PM

                they go best in taiyaki! *pines*

            2. inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 02:28 PM

              Azuki beans do have a flavor, but you have to start with a really clean palate in order to detect it. They have that mildly earthy flavor that all beans do, and depending on how incorporated they are into the ice cream, you can also detect the slightly grainy/starchy texture you get from beans.

              21 Replies
              1. re: inaplasticcup
                al b. darned Jun 25, 2011 02:34 PM

                I guess I prefer the smooth texture of bean-less ice cream.

                1. re: al b. darned
                  inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 02:37 PM

                  Haha. I hear ya. It's a contextual thing, I think. I grew up with red bean ice bars and I love them, but I can see how other people think beans belong in soup or chili, not ice cream.

                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                    woodleyparkhound Jun 25, 2011 02:45 PM

                    @inaplasticcup: I'm one of those people! When I was in Japan, I was really disturbed at how many desserts contained these beans. I thought they were revoting. I'll never forget the time I bought this gorgeous, chocolate-covered eclair-looking thing only to take it home to discover that it was filled with ... you guessed it. It was a heartbreaking experience.

                    1. re: woodleyparkhound
                      inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 02:52 PM

                      LOL. Not even I like them that way! Actually, those ice bars are the only way I like beans in a dessert context. But it's a very common sweet ingredient in both Japanese and Korean cuisine. Oh to get a mouthful of those cloyingly sweet, mashed up azuki beans in your mochi... :|

                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                        ipsedixit Jun 25, 2011 02:58 PM

                        Do you not like Southern bean pies? Yum.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 02:59 PM

                          Why, I've never had one! Goog time...

                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                            inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 03:04 PM

                            Ok. Saw a few recipes, one including pecans and coconuts, which sounds very doable.

                            I think the reason I tend not to like the azuki in Japanese sweets is that it is soooo very sweet and flat tasting. I dislike it less in Korean desserts - shaved ice, dduk (rice cake), porridge - because it's not as sweet, concentrated and compacted.

                            I think I could like a Southern bean pie - probably not the one with 3 whole cups of sugar in it though...

                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                              ipsedixit Jun 25, 2011 03:08 PM

                              What about azuki beans in Taiwanese shaved ice? Or in Hawai'ian Shave Ice?

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 03:19 PM

                                I'd probably like that ok, as I like it in small doses in Korean shaved ice, along with a sprinkling of millet powder (which would probably make the OP go eww as well :P). What's particular to the Taiwanese and Hawaiian ones?

                                1. re: inaplasticcup
                                  ipsedixit Jun 25, 2011 03:24 PM

                                  What's particular to the Taiwanese and Hawaiian ones?
                                  ______________________________

                                  I don't know if there's anything particular with Taiwanese or Hawai'ian sweet azuki beans, except I know it would be odd for me to have shaved ice, esp. the Taiwanese kind, without at least a bit of azuki beans.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 03:42 PM

                                    I think my ideal shaved ice would be the azuki beans (I guess I like them a little more than I thought!), a little bit of condensed milk, a couple spoonfuls of that millet powder, and mochi bits. I guess I'm not veering too off topic since this is still about a frozen dessert with azuki beans, right??? :)))

                                    1. re: inaplasticcup
                                      Tripeler Jun 25, 2011 07:40 PM

                                      "a couple spoonfuls of that millet power,"

                                      Would you be thinking of roasted soybean powder? This is what is called "kinako" in Japanese, and is almost always present with sweetened adzuki beans. I have never heard of millet powder...

                                      1. re: Tripeler
                                        inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 08:10 PM

                                        Millet and millet powder are commonly used in Korean cuisine. It has a toasty, nutty flavor and is sometimes used to coat dduk (rice cake), and also to make gruel and porridge as well as a horchata like drink. I imagine roasted soybean powder could have a similar flavor and texture, though.

                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                          Tripeler Jun 25, 2011 08:19 PM

                                          Thanks! I didn't know that about millet powder. If the millet is roasted, likely it tastes very much like roasted soybean powder.

                                          1. re: Tripeler
                                            inaplasticcup Jun 25, 2011 08:29 PM

                                            Well if it does, I suspect I would like kinako very much. :)

                                        2. re: Tripeler
                                          bitsubeats Jun 28, 2011 09:47 AM

                                          I also thought some tteok was made with kinako and not roasted millet powder, although they do taste almost the same.

                                          i am thinking of the pounded rice cake that is usually cut into small little rectangles and than rolled in either crushed mung beans or powdered millet/kinako.

                      2. re: inaplasticcup
                        j
                        joonjoon Jul 1, 2011 07:59 PM

                        Interestingly Koreans have a different word for the red beans vs. beans - Kong and Paht. Paht is often (or even perhaps predominantly) used in sweet applications.

                    2. re: inaplasticcup
                      scubadoo97 Jun 27, 2011 07:45 PM

                      Azuki beans do have a sweet flavor. love them

                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        ipsedixit Jun 27, 2011 07:58 PM

                        My mom used to slowly simmer azuki beans with rock sugar and a bit of ginger, until it was thick like custard. Then she removed the ginger, cooled the beans in the fridge overnight and the next day it was like eating red azuki frozen yogurt. Just awesome.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          scubadoo97 Jun 28, 2011 05:14 AM

                          That sounds wonderful.

                          1. re: scubadoo97
                            ipsedixit Jun 28, 2011 07:54 PM

                            You're telling me!

                    3. ipsedixit Jun 25, 2011 01:41 PM

                      Those are sweet red azuki beans.

                      They add flavor to the ice cream base, even though the beans themselves may appear to be flavorless.

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