When I first connected with Xiaolu Hou of the extraordinarily sweet and charming 6 Bittersweets, it was through Flickr and our mutual love of food photography. When I saw how clever she was at capturing the cakes, cookies, and cupcakes dear to her heart (if not her ultimate career goal as nutritionist), I thought, "this girl's got something." And sure enough, a few months later, her burnished S'mores Cupcakes earned her the award of Overall Winner of the November 2010 edition of Does My Blog Look Good in This?
So, what has changed for Xiaolu since then? It's been more of the same, but bigger, brighter, and bolder with an exciting new venture into cupcake catering in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as hanging a sign out with Etsy to purvey her delightful little cake decorating touches, hand-crafted to give your desserts that bit of extra flair.
And what does the future hold for Xiaolu? It's wide open now, but I expect it, yet again, to be more of the same. The world's her oyster, but it'll be a piece of cake.
It gives me great pleasure to feature Xiaolu as she shares her tropically inspired mung bean popsicles as a guest poster in celebration of My Legume Love Affair - Kicking Off Year 4. Thanks, XL!
The following writing, recipe, and photography are owned by Xiaolu Hou and protected by copyright. All Rights Reserved. 2011. All materials appear here by permission and courtesy.
Long have I been a fan of Susan and her gorgeous blog -- for her innovative recipes, for her one-of-a-kind photography, and for its reflection of her sweet personality. For almost as long I've enjoyed and been inspired by her My Legume Love Affair blog event, so it was with joy that I accepted Susan's invitation to prepare a guest post to celebrate MLLA's 3rd anniversary! Especially as someone who's studying to be a dietitian, I'm whole-heartedly behind the cause of popularizing nutritious and delicious legumes! The mung beans I'm featuring today, for example, are low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, folate, iron, potassium, and zinc. But of course we wouldn't want to eat them if they're not delicious. Well no problem on that front either. Mung beans are native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan but have since become popular throughout China, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia [Livestrong]. Part of their popularity probably has to do with their versatility. These legumes are equally at home boiled and added to savory dishes, ground into flour and transformed into crepes, featured in dessert soups, or frozen into refreshing popsicles.
Before we proceed any further, let me own up to the fact that sweet popsicles rich with coconut and sweetened condensed milk are probably not the best example of what a healthy addition legumes can be to your diet. The thing is, I'm trying to hook you in with this addictive treat and before you know it you'll be throwing mung beans in your sweet and savory dishes. Yea I'm sneaky like that =D... But unlike other recently trending desserts that try to put beans under the guise of common American treats, I took my cue from some Asian classics and put my mungs front and center. Luckily the flavor of mung beans is quite delicate compared to many other legumes. It strikes a lovely balance with the Thai-inspired coconut and kaffir lime flavors that accompany it, and I assure you that one taste will have you going back for more.
Thanks to Susan and all of you for having me here today. I hope you guys enjoy these popsicles as much as I enjoyed making them, and here's to the start of a spectacular 4th year of MLLA!
Coconut Mung Bean Kaffir Lime Popsicles [Printable Recipe]
Makes about 10 3-ounce popsicles
2 Tbsp rice flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups coconut milk, shaken well before opening
1 1/3 cups milk
1/2 cup dry mung beans, picked over and washed
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cups water
1 kaffir lime leaf
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Whisk the rice flour with 3 tablespoons of coconut milk until smooth with no lumps, then gradually add the remaining coconut milk, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and water while stirring. Transfer to a 4-quart (or larger) saucepan, and bring the whole mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly (it should thicken slightly). Add the mung beans, then bring the mixture back to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring often, until the beans are tender. About 30 minutes into cooking, add the kaffir lime leaf into the pot and stir well.
Remove from heat, fish out the kaffir lime leaf, then let the mixture cool completely. Then puree the mixture in the liquid in a traditional blender or using a handheld one. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer the mixture to your popsicle molds. Insert sticks and freeze until solid - approximately 4 hours. To release the pops from the molds, run the molds briefly under warm water.