Tau sar piah are walnut-sized mung bean pastries that are particularly associated with Penang, where my father’s side of the family are from. I remember first tasting the flaky pastry and sweet-savoury crumbly mung bean filling. It was delicious (particularly when warmed up) and of the two versions available (sweet or salty) my family preferred the salty with its strange combination of savoury shallots and sweet mung beans (the sweet version leaves out the salt and shallots). Naturally, when I attempted to make these for the first time, I made the salty kind (though I think Blai wishes they had been sweet!).
I adapted a recipe from Kooky Culinary and while I tried cutting down on the sugar, I’d recommend using the entire amount in the recipe. They’re easy to make but very time consuming and labour intensive as the pastry for each tau sar piah must be formed individually. The flaky pastry was fantastic and I hope to use it again for other pastries.
The only thing that was missing? That unmistakable flavour you get when the pastry is made with lard. I’d love to hear if you’ve made this or other similar pastries with lard!
Tau Sar Piah
adapted from Kooky Culinary.
For the filling
200g peeled dried mung beans (yellow), soaked for 2 hours
70g sugar (I would increase this to 100g)
1 tsp salt
60g sunflower oil
3-4 shallots, minced (or 1/2 a small onion)
(For the sweet version, leave out the salt and shallots)
For the oil dough
80g plain flour
45g sunflower oil
For the water dough
150g plain flour
80g sunflower oil
1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 egg yolk
Drain the soaked mung beans and place in a heat proof bowl. Steam for about 20 minutes until cooked through and soft enough to mash. Let cool and then mash well with a fork.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the shallots until soft and then add the salt, sugar and mashed mung beans. Fry together until all are combined well; this should take a few minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Now make the doughs. For the oil dough, mix together the oil and flour until it comes together into a thick paste. Set aside. For the water dough, mix all the ingredients together into a thicker dough. Knead together for a minute and then also set this aside for at last 20 minutes.
Divide each of the three parts (filling, oil dough, water dough) into 32 equal pieces. (It’s easy as 32 = 2^5 and so it’s just a matter of dividing in half multiple times.)
Now to put them together! Flatten a piece of water dough and use it to wrap a piece of oil dough evenly. Form into a ball and flatten it with a rolling pin. Roll this flat pancake like a Swiss roll and then turn it 90 degrees so that it appears vertically to you. Roll flat again and again roll it up like a Swiss roll. Form this roll into a flat round and use it to wrap a piece of filling. There’s a great pictorial guide to this process at the bottom of this post by ieatishootipost.
Place the pastries on a lined baking sheet (they won’t spread so they can sit close together – see the photo below). Beat together the egg yolk with a little water and use it to glaze all the pastries.
Bake in a preheated 190 Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes, until the pastries are golden brown.