Luxendarc is falling into darkness. The crystals have been consumed by a dark force and everything around it is being affected. Ships are no longer able to sail because the oceans have rotted. A large volcano has erupted and continues to erupt near a nation already engulfed in civil war. The small farming village of Norende has recently been swallowed up by a great chasm. All of this madness surrounding you and you are the sole survivor of the Norende incident. You tried to save your brother as the chasm opened up but you were not strong enough to hold on. It’s been a week since the city has collapsed, yet that image keeps replaying in your mind over and over again. You’ve been staying in a nice inn in Caldisla. Everyone in the city has been extremely welcoming and open to you. Your strength has finally returned and it is time to face your demons and see if the collapse was something you dreamed or if it was a reality.
Last week I finished up Bravely Default and overall it was a pretty good game. Without spoiling anything I will say the first half (which ends up being most of the game time) was much better than the second half. One of the main things I really liked about the game was the job system. It really allowed you to customize a character how you would like it. Many times I wished I could put more abilities on characters but it forced me to really think about what I wanted to do with each of them. In the end one of my favorite combinations had to be the vampire/ dark knight. I would open up a battle, purposely get my health as low as possible and then hit the enemy with a move that hits harder proportional to your health lost. From there, if an enemy were to kill Ringabel (he was my vampire/ dark knight) he had a 50% chance to resurrect each turn. That combination was pretty ridiculous in the long run, and strategy-building like that made the game a lot of fun.
While playing the game there would be little additional conversations between the characters. Many of the conversation would involve talk about food. I really enjoyed these conversations because it made the characters feel a bit more real to me. If there is one thing that I think a lot of games don’t include, it is how important food is in our daily lives. Unfortunately the game only had one item that was food related: status increasing buns. When I saw the image I knew immediately I had to dive in and make some red bean buns. One of the big things was getting the red bean paste right. Now I usually do not recommend shortcuts but if you do not have a spare 5-8 hours instead of making your own red bean paste, pick up a can of it and just make the buns (try out the recipe here). This is honestly one of the first recipes in a while that requires a good amount of watching and takes several hours, so let’s just dive right in.
Recipe inspired by: JustOneCookBook
Required Equipment: mesh strainer, bowl, pot, potato masher
– 12 oz Azuki Beans
– 1 ½ cups sugar
– 1 tsp salt
The night before you are going to cook the beans, place them in a boil and cover with water. Let the beans soak overnight. The next day when you are ready to cook remove the beans from the water and rinse them really well.
Place the beans in a pot and cover with water until there are 2 inches of water above the beans. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling cover, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and repeat that process one more time.
Now the real cooking process starts. Place the beans back in the pot and cover with just enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium-low. Watch the water level; you want to maintain the barely covered state. Throughout the cooking time you are going to be adding water to the pot. When you do that I recommend giving the beans a light mix so nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Continue cooking the beans at this low heat until the beans are soft enough that they break from a slight squeeze (test them carefully as the bean will be hot). This process can take anywhere from 5-8 hours (I’ve done this three times now and the cooking time is that radical). Turn the heat up to high and add the sugar in small batches. I’ve typically done it in 4 batches. Continue to cook until the sugar and beans are well mixed together and the water has mostly evaporated.
Once the cooking is done, remove the beans from the pot and place them in a bowl. Take a potato masher and mash the beans until smooth. At this point you can start making the bao (recipe for the dough can be found here) or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.