Quick and Easy, Low Sugar Peanut Cream Chinese Dessert 自制懒人花生糊

The lazy bum's Sweet Peanut Cream Dessert, low sugar, quick and easy

Every Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year), we are bound to have certain festive biscuits or cookies lying around not being eaten. Reason being, we no longer make our own as much as before, and for this year, I have only made the one batch of Chocolate Chip Orange Zest Shortbread Cookies, whilst the rest are shop bought - well, purchased online due to the lockdown; they are practically a bet on taste, as you'll never get to taste it before you buy. In addition, everyone would have at least one or two types of favourite food that is different from the others; so we ended up with quite a few types that would only be eaten by the one person, for instance, the peanut cookies.

I am no big fan of the peanut cookies, so it is not my job to finish them up. However, the ones we bought this year turned out to be really not a big deal in taste - even the person who insisted on buying it, doesn't like it. 

To cut wastage to a minimum, I decided to turn these unwanted peanut cookies into an ingredient for a traditional Cantonese dessert - the Sweet Peanut Cream Dessert - but the lazy bum's way.

The Lazy bum's ingredients (serves 6-8 small bowls):
100g peanut cookies, finely crushed or blended
100g creamy peanut butter
30g rice flour
10g corn starch
Filtered water (amount customised to preferred thickness)
NO sugar added, as the base sweetness will come from the peanut cookies. Additional sweetness can be added when served, according to individual's preference.

To make things even easier and faster (because cooking in this extreme heat and humidity is no joke, unless I'm a heat worshipper, which I'm not), I have place a deep saucepan directly onto the kitchen scale to weigh out 100g of the cookies. 

Take the saucepan off the scale, crush the cookies with a masher. These cookies are generally quite soft and short so it's easy to just do so. Otherwise, a blender or food processor would help.

Once the cookies are crushed into fine bits, place the saucepan onto the kitchen scale again and weigh out 100g of creamy peanut butter. Add some filtered water into the saucepan, just slight covering the mixture. Stir it well to mix it into a soft, thin paste. If it is too thick or hard to stir, just add a little more water, gradually. Adding hot boiling water instead of room temperature water would make the process even easier, if you have some at hand. 

Once the peanut mixture becomes a slightly thin and runny paste, put the saucepan on a medium heat, stirring every now and again.

Whilst waiting for the peanut mixture to come to a boil, mix the rice flour and corn starch with some water in a cup or bowl, till well blended.

Once the peanut mixture comes to a boil, gradually pour in the starch-liquid mixture, stirring constantly. When it is mixed well, simmer it on the lowest heat and keep stirring (like you would making custard). The mixture will become thicker and thicker at this point, and one can adjust the thickness according to one's preference by either adding a little more water (to have it runnier) or a little more rice flour-water mixture (for thicker texture).

However, the texture will appear runnier when it's hot, and will eventually become thicker when it gets cooler.

Once the desired texture is achieved, it is done. Yes, it is that simple, even a lazy bum like me would approve 😁

As I am using the peanut cookies as one of the base ingredients, I haven't added any sugar, as the peanut cookies will contribute to the sweetness. That way, anyone who prefers it sweeter can easily add in some sugar, palm sugar or syrup, at serving time. It is always easier to add sweetness than to reduce sweetness.

Last but not least, IF I am less lazy, and IF I had raw peanuts in the house, here's what I could have done:

The hardworking bee's ingredients:
200g raw peanuts - toasted in the oven or fried without oil in a wok, cooled, then finely ground or blended (preferably, milled) with some water 
30g rice flour
10g corn starch
Filtered water (amount customised to preferred thickness)
Brown sugar (amount according to preferred sweetness)

And then, apply the same cooking method 😋

Ok fine, this is 2021 and you can find all kinds of processed ingredients online, including ground or blended peanut - or even milled peanut paste! However, they are often sold in a 1kg unit and I'm only using 200g for a household of 5; which means that the remaining 800g would go to waste, as it is not a very common ingredient in our daily cooking. Moreover, its high fat content makes it go off pretty quickly in this climate. So, I can only be either a lazy bum or a hardworking bee. I do prefer the former.

I do find that most Chinese people I know, would add sugar to the ground peanuts from the beginning, to get a certain caramelised effect. But I personally like to have more control on how sweet my food gets, so sugar here acts as a seasoning to me and not an active ingredient as to many. It is just a personal preference of mine and I do have diabetic people to consider; so anyone who would like to have the sugar cooked together can easily do so too.


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