Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Penang style Tau Sar Piah Tambun Biscuits 槟城豆沙饼

Hi! Hi! It's the tau sar piah loving me again continuing my tau sar piah baking exploration...

Until today, I have baked several types of tau sar piah and they are:

1) Yuan yang sweet and salty tau sar piah 鸳鸯咸豆沙饼 which has a perfect combination of sweet and salty tau sar and meat floss filling, like the ones that you find Thye Moh Chan or selected Toast Box shops in Singapore

2) The flaky and flakiest tau sar piah with smooth and sweet tau sar filling 酥皮豆沙饼 which is made of heavenly light and distinctively flaky pastry

3) Like 611 tau sar piah 像611牛油豆沙饼 which is made with crunchy-like-butter-cookie but flaky buttery pastry and also 611-like smooth tau sar filling

Here, I'm baking Penang style tau sar piah (in Hokkien) which is also known as tau sar pheah (in Cantonese), dragon balls, tambun (fat) biscuits, mung bean pastry, dou sar bing (meaning 豆沙饼 in Chinese).

Unlike the other tau sar piahs that I have baked before, the Penang style tau sar piah are famous being their distinctively round little balls of pastry. 
Characteristically, the Penang tau sar piah are made of firm, flaky and slightly crispy pastry and are filled with cream-coloured, crumbly and melt-in-the mouth mung beans filling with a subtle aroma of fried shallots.

Yup! I like to remind myself that any tau sar piah that (1) is flattened, (2) not firm and crispy and (3) not made with cream-coloured mung bean filling and fried shallots are NOT Penang tau sar piah!!! LOL!

Bearing in my mind of all these important characteristics, this is how I baked my Penang style tau sar piah...

Penang style tau sar piah tambun biscuits
Penang style tau sar piah / Tambun biscuits
IMPORTANT: When the sugar dissolves, remove from heat immediately.
Do not over-cook this filling as the filling will turn darker in colour!
Use a fork to mash the filling and mix in the shallot oil.
Divide the water dough and oil dough into portions and do this shaping step for each portion.
Although it is time consuming to roll and roll these pastries...
... it can be quite therapeutic!
Final rolling... Roll the pastry into a flat disk and place filling in the middle of it.
It is important to bake the pastry in high temperature to get a nice crispy finish.
After baking... Oh! I can't wait and tried one after 10 minutes of cooling...
See that the pastry is flaky and crispy... and wish that you can taste its melt-in-the mouth filling.
Penang style tau sar piah tambun biscuits
I'm so in love with this nostalgic treat! 

After baking so many different kinds of delicious tau sar piah, I like to conclude my tau sar piah baking exploration at this point of time.

No more tau sar piah baking??? Nay... I still love to bake tau sar piah and love to bake some for my cousin who is living in NYC if I see her.

Are you going to bake any tau sar piah or mooncake or traditional pastries to enjoy with your family and friends in this coming mid-autumn festival? I hope that you will like all the tau sar piah recipes that I have explored. Wish that these recipes will be handy for you.

I wish you and your family a happy mid autumn festival! My family and I will be celebrating our mid-autumn festival in Vancouver and we will be going to Disneyland in LA and San Francisco too. Yay!!! I promise that I will be back again to blog again in 3 weeks time. See ya!

Update on 23 Aug 2016: I baked these tau sar piah again!!! And I have a one-minute video showing how I baked these lovely pastries. Enjoy!

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from the book, Olden tasty Treats by Choong Su Yin

Make 24

For the water dough:
200g all purpose flour
80g shortening*, preferably trans fat free kind like Crisco
30g caster sugar
95g water

For the oil dough:
180g cake flour
85g shortening*, preferably trans fat free kind like Crisco

For the filling:
120g mung bean, washed with cold water and soaked with water overnight in the fridge
4 shallots, thinly sliced
adequate frying oil, preferably something smooth
1 tsp salt
100g icing sugar
3-4 tbsp shallot oil, just enough to moisten the filling

For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk, roughly beaten

*I'm sorry that you can't substitute shortening with butter or any other fat in this recipe. I reckon shortening works the best in this case.

To prepare the mung bean filling:
Wash and drain the soaked mung beans thoroughly. Using a steamer, steamed at high heat for about 30 mins or until they can be easily squashed by our fingers.

Heat a frying pan with adequate amount of oil, deep fry shallot until they are fragrant and crispy with deep golden brown colours. Remove the shallot from the frying oil. Do not discard the oil and use it subsequently as shallot oil.

In a small frying pan or medium saucepan, combine the mung beans, fried shallots, salt and sugar. Cook with very low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the filling from the heat immediately! Otherwise, this filling with a good amount of sugar will caramelize when it is cooked further. Using a spatula or a fork, mash the mixture and stir in adequate shallot oil until it forms a melt-in-the-mouth and crumbly texture. Set aside to cool completely.

To prepare the water dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Rub shortening into the flour mixture and add water to combine mixture into a dough. Knead until it is smooth. Cover the dough with a cling wrap and set aside to rest for 1 hr in room temperature.

To prepare the oil dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine cake flour and shortening to form a pliable dough. Cover it with a cling wrap. Set aside.

To assemble:
Divide the water and oil dough into 24 equal portions.

Take a portion of water dough and roll it into a flat round shape. Place a portion of oil dough on the rolled water dough and wrap the water dough around the oil dough. Seal the edges.

Using a rolling pin, roll the combined dough into an oval shape and roll it up like Swiss roll. Using a rolling pin, roll the combined dough into a long strip and roll up like a Swiss roll again.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a flat round disc. Place about 1 tablespoonful of mung bean fillings in the center of the dough. Wrap it and seal the edges. Using your palm, roll the enclosed pastry into a rounded ball. Repeat this shaping method with the rest of the pastry and filling.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line baking tray with baking paper. Place the wrapped pastries with its seam side down onto the prepared tray.

Apply egg wash on the pastries and bake for 20-30 mins or until deep golden brown.

Happy Baking
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  1. Zoe, your tambun piah is exactly how I remember it. It looks so flaky and yummy. I want to try this soon!!

  2. Hi for d water n oil dough to divide into how many grams each ?

    1. Hi Yee Fong

      You can divide the dough by estimation or you can weigh the dough and divide the total weight by 24 and divided your weight according to the weight that you calculated.



  3. Zoe, I think I will say yes to the tau sar piah but not so soon! Happy holidays to you and your family!

  4. This reminds me of those Hong Kong's bridal cake like 蛋黃豆蓉酥 :)

  5. I tried baking the yuan yang sweet and salty ones and found the dough breaking into pieces when I rolled them. Also found the shortening bits coming off very easily during the prep process. Any idea what I may be doing wrong?

    1. Hi Lydia,

      Which recipe did you use to bake your yuan yang sweet and salty tau sar piah because I remember that I didn't use shortening to make mine at http://www.bakeforhappykids.com/2015/08/yuan-yang-sweet-and-salty-tau-sar-piah.html

      Having said that, I'm sure that you can substitute ghee with shortening and I don't know exactly why is your shortening dough keep breaking off from your dough. I'm guessing maybe your water dough is not smooth, well rested or elastic enough.


  6. Haven't seen anything like that before! Must be yummy, looks really great!

  7. Wah...clap clap clap...looks really good! Send some over to me please! :)

  8. This is truly a melt in the mouth tau sar piah! Long time have not eaten these!

  9. interesting recipe, never used mung beans like this before

  10. Wish I could indulge these yummy flaky tau sar piah too. Enjoy your holiday !

  11. I can imagine the delicious filling with the flaky pastry. Yum! Looks awesome too.

  12. Another mouthwatering recipe...... feel to grab them... :)

  13. Oh, I love these, Zoe! Never fail to buy some when I'm in Penang. Thank you for the recipe! ^.^

  14. i like anything "old treats"... keeper! will make this when i am back in beijing!!!

  15. The savoury filling on its own looks delicious , Zoe !

    Have a great Mid-Autumn Festival wherever you are right now :D

  16. That looks really authentic... well done!

  17. Ooh.. my family favourite. We always will buy it whenever we visit Penang. Yours look delicious.

  18. Love all your tau sar piah adventure! Tau Sar Piah from Penang are the best, I always buy a box of it whenever I visit Penang.

  19. I always love your recipes -- so thorough and perfect. This is a goodie -- thanks so much.

  20. I often Tau Sar Piah cake with the durian flavor. Insipid coverages combine with sweet durian to make it delicious.

  21. Oh my! Exactly like the one I bought in shop. So yummy looking.

  22. Your blog has been an inspiration a many a times. And this on, too. Thanks. I would like to try it!

  23. Hi Zoe. Thanks for taking us thru this amazing journey of tau sar piah exploration! Really appreciate your painstaking work and detailed analysis. I tried the yuan yang recipie and I must say these sweet/savory filling tasted so delish with the flaky pastry. Will certainly try this Penang tambun recipie. U have a great blog here. Thanks for sharing. BTW I like story telling! Chloe

  24. Hi, I made these few days ago and they were so good my husband said they are better than the famous Penang tambun biscuit. As we are living in Sydney there is no access no any tambun biscuit nor tau sar piah but now I can make them myself. So happy and thank you so much!

  25. Hi Zoe, thank you for the detailed, pictured step-by-step instructions! Just want to clarify that the "icing sugar" used in the filling is the type of powdered sugar used to make cake icing. If so, I'm converting the 100g to U.S. kitchen measurement which is approximately 3/4 cups. Is this correct? Thanks! Hope the ingredients in the U.S. and metric conversions I did will be accurate and turn out as they should.

    1. Hi, The icing sugar that I used is also known as powdered sugar and confectioners' sugar which finely ground sugar powder. To be precise and avoid any confusion, I would strongly advise you to weigh the ingredients instead of using volumetric measurements because different countries can use different volume for their cup measurements. Cheers!


  26. Hi I am inspired to try out your recipe. May I know is it the yellow mung bean used instead of the green mung bean that we usually use for green bean soup dessert?

    1. Hi, Sorry for my late reply. Please use the yellow mung beans without the green skin. You should be able to buy this in many Asian grocery shops. Cheers!