Updated: Sep 18, 2021
This savoury biscuit is a local delicacy that you think about when you visit Penang in Malaysia. The best way to describe them is the flaky texture of the biscuits filled with a slightly sweet and salty savoury mung bean paste with caramelised shallots.
If you have not work with mung bean much, it is something that Malaysian treats uses a lot of like the Western uses peanut butter. Mung beans looks like red beans except that they are green in colour. You can get them dried from the supermarket with the skin still intact or they also come in split and skinned in packets.
In the recipe, I am using the skinned and split mung beans which reduces the cooking time for the beans.
How do you prepare mung bean paste
The mung beans are first soaked in cold water overnight to slightly soften. The next day, strain the mung beans and wash them with clean water then strain the water once again. Steam the beans in a bowl over a steamer rack in the bowl of simmering water until they are soft. The steaming time can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the steaming method or the beans that you are using.
When the beans have softened, pulse them to a smooth paste.
In this recipe, the mung bean paste is fried with the caramelized diced shallots, sugar, salt and pepper in a non stick pan until they are completely dry. The paste should be dry but still pliable to be able to be rolled to individual balls.
Variation of Tau Sar Piah
If you are not a fan of making this biscuit savoury, you can omit the shallots and increase the sugar in the mung bean paste recipe.
You can also use sweet red bean paste as an alternative as well.
About the biscuit dough
The interesting part of this biscuit is how they are made. Very similar texture to a puff pastry, this biscuit dough includes two different dough : water dough and oil dough. The two doughs are wrapped and rolled together to create the separate layers that gives you the flakiness after being baked.
Types of fat to use
Traditionally the biscuit are made with lard. In this recipe, I have used a coconut oil base vegetable shortening (Copha). Other alternatives that you can use are clarified butter and vegetable oil. The ones that gives the best flaky result are the one that uses lard and vegetable shortening.
Yields: 12 pieces
Savoury Mung Bean Fillings
90 g Split mung bean (rinsed & drained)
Qs. Water for soaking
5 tbsp. Olive Oil
30 g Shallot (finely chopped)
¼ tsp Fine salt
50 g Caster Sugar
¼ tsp. White ground pepper
100 g Plain flour
25 g Icing sugar
¼ tsp Fine salt
30 g Shortening - melted and cooled
35 g Cold water (from the fridge)
80 g Plain flour
35 g Shortening - melted and cooled
For the Mung Bean Filling
1. Soak the mung beans in water above level of the beans overnight.
The Next day, strain and wash the softened mung beans. (at this point the beans should still be hardy on the inside). Place beans into a bowl that you can fit into a pot to steam.
If you are using a rice cooker, this process will take approximately 20 minutes. If you are steaming them over a steaming rack in a cooking pot like myself, the process will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
Refill some of the steaming water when necessary to prevent it from drying out.
When the mung bean is ready, it should be soft and easy crushed between your fingers.
2. Blend the mung bean to a paste, if you want the paste to be more coarse, simply crush them with a fork.
3. Slice the shallots and place them into a drying pan with the oil. Sautee the finely diced shallots until they start to caramelise and turn dark golden in colour.
4. Add in the mung bean puree, sugar, salt and pepper and stir. The sugar will start to dissolve making the paste slightly wet. Keep cooking to dry out the paste and is not wet.
5. Transfer the mung bean filling to a bowl, cover and allow for it to fully cool.
6. Divide the paste to 12 equal portion of approximately 20 g each. If the paste feels too dry to roll, add a dash of olive oil. Cover the fillings to prevent from frying out and set aside until ready to assemble.
For the Water Dough
7. Melt the shortening and leave it to cool. If you are using lard, you do not have to melt it and you can just add them straight in to the flour.
8. Place all the ingredients together into a bowl with the cooled shortening and mix with you hand until they come to a smooth dough. Place a plastic wrap around the dough and set aside.
For the Oil Dough
9. Melt the shortening and leave to cool. Add into the flour and mix until it forms to a smooth dough.
10. Pre heat the oven to 180˚C.
Divide the oil dough to 12 portions of approximately 8 - 9 g each then roll them to individual smooth ball. Cover with cling wrap to prevent drying.
11. Divide the water dough to 12 portions of approximately 15 - 16 g each and roll them to individual smooth ball. Cover with cling wrap.
12. Working with each Tau Sar Piah at a time, flatten the water dough between your palm then place an oil dough in the centre and wrap the oil dough ball full with the water dough. Pinch the seam to seal and roll it to a smooth ball. Repeat the same process for the rest of the oil and water dough.
13. Flatten the dough on to a work bench then with the help of a rolling pin roll it to a elongated oval shape. From one end lengthwise, roll the dough to a tiny log. Turn the long 90 degrees then roll it again to an elongated oval shape again and repeat the same process rolling it to a log once again.
14. Place the dough log sitting flat on the work bench with the open ends on the bench and the opposite open ends facing upwards. Press the dough flat with your palm then roll it out to a palm size disc with your rolling pin.
15. Place the mung bean filling in the centre and wrap it with the dough and pinch the seam to seal. Roll to a smooth ball then place it over a baking tray lined with baking paper with the seam side underneath.
16. Whisk one egg yolks then brush the top of each pastry with the egg yolk. Bake in the preheat oven for approximately 35- 40 minutes or until the top turns golden.