I’m happy to introduce my delicious sweet manju pastry recipe to you today.
I researched the origin of this pastry on the internet, some bloggers and Wikipedia say the idea of this pastry originated a long ways back in China, as Chinese dumplings are made with fillings and dough skin. When these dumplings were introduced to Japan, the Japanese modified the dumplings and made them into pastries by adding fillings made with sweet beans. They called this manju.
Eventually manju came to Korea, which is where I learned it. I’m not sure if the taste of my manju is different from the original Japanese manju because I’ve never tasted Japanese manju. If you know more about the history and tastes of different manju, please let us know about it in the comments.
Where did I get this recipe?
I was very excited the first time I had this homemade manju visiting my friend Jeongjin’s house in Korea. Jeongjin would make so many delicious dishes and I loved whatever she made. She was generous about sharing her recipes with me and my other friends. It was a big revelation for me to see that we could make such delicious sweet pastries at home and not have to buy them at a bakery. As soon as I tasted these, I knew I had to make them. This is Jeongjin’s recipe.
She and I lost touch years ago. I’m wondering if she still keeps cooking these days. Whenever we met each other, we talked about new delicious dishes and recipes and learned from each other.
If you feel your heart beating quickly when you see this video recipe today, you’ll know how I felt the first time I saw them being made!
Ingredients (for 8 manju)
1 cup lima beans, ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¾ cup flour plus ½ cup extra flour, 2 eggs, ¼ cup sesame seeds, ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Make sweet filling:
- Soak 1 cup of lima beans in cold water overnight (for about 10-12 hours).
- Pop the beans out of the skins with your fingers.
- Place the beans in a heavy bottomed pot with 1¼ cup of water and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to very low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the beans are soft and fluffy.
- Mash the beans with a wooden spoon until they have the consistency and look of mashed potatoes.
*tip: If you need to make a large quantity, using a food processor will be faster
- Add sugar, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Turn up the heat to medium high heat and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes with a wooden spoon to thicken the filling.
- Turn the heat off and cool down.
- Combine ¾ cup flour, 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Make 8 manju:
- Divide the dough and the filling into 8 same-sized balls on a floured cutting board.
- Flatten out each dough ball by pressing it down with the palm of your hand.
- Place a filling ball into the center of a flattened dough. Wrap the dough around the filling.
- Seal the edges of the wrapped dough and form into the shape of an egg. To make chestnut shaped manju, first make a ball and then gently pinch a point at one end. Leave the other end rounded.
- Dip top of a manju into cold water, and then dip into sesame seeds so the seeds stick to side. Repeat it with the rest of the manju, water, and sesame seeds. For chestnut shaped manju, dip the top into water, and then dip the top into seeds.
- Brush the egg yolk over the manju. For chestnut shaped manju, brush egg yolk below the part where sesame seeds are on so that the color will change into brown when it’s baked.
- Repeat for each manju, and place them on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper, with the sealed part of the manju on the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the pan on the middle rack and bake for about 20 minutes.
- If you make chestnut shaped manju, bake them a little longer for a deep, rich color.
- Serve as a dessert or snack.