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Here is an easy recipe for red bean paste (红豆沙 or hóngdòu shā), made with adzuki beans (commonly called red beans in Chinese and other East Asian cultures), which is a popular ingredient in many Chinese and East Asian desserts and pastries.
Although you can buy it at most East Asian grocers, you may struggle if you don't have any near where you live! So, it's good to know you can make this important and delicious dessert filling easily at home. The recipe below is so quick and easy to make that you won't want to go back to shop bought alternatives.
Red bean paste is typically made using the larger red adzuki beans, which can be found in Chinese and East Asian grocers, or purchased from online speciality food sellers. If you can't find the large beans, it's not a problem to use the smaller ones available in your local supermarket.
Although the recipe suggests cooking the bean puree a bit to evaporate some of the moisture, you may find that this is unnecessary, if the consistency of the blended beans mixed with sugar is just right. If that is the case, simply skip this step. If your blended beans do contain excess moisture, then cooking them for a few minutes is helpful. You don't have to fry them with oil but can simply cook them on the stove a bit longer to evaporate more liquid.
Some recipes will use a very smooth and refined red bean paste, which is traditionally achieved by pressing the bean puree through a fine sieve to remove the skins. But for home baking purposes, it's not really necessary to do this, and you could simply add a bit of water and blend the red bean paste in a blender or food processor until it is mostly smooth and fluffy. Keeping the skins on the beans is also healthier, as they are an important nutrient source.
However you choose to prepare your red bean paste, you can always make the texture a bit creamier by mixing in some flavourless coconut oil (melt it first) or other flavourless vegetable oil. You could even use butter, if you prefer.
Even amongst pulses, adzuki beans are high in protein and low in fat. They are nutrient dense, high in beneficial vitamins and minerals, and low in sodium. As well as having diuretic properties, adzuki beans can also help regulate hormonal imbalances, nourish the blood and boost energy levels. These tiny beans pack a lot of punch - so no need to feel guilty about enjoying it in your favourite dessert!
Red bean paste will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. You can also freeze it in individual portions for a couple of months. Before using, bring it to room temperature, and mix in a little water to thin it out, if necessary.
Use this red bean paste in Baked Sticky Rice Cake (Hong Dou Kao Nian Gao | 红豆 烤年糕) or any other recipe of your choosing.
And now you can make red bean paste in an Instant pot in even less time!
Here's what you'll need to make this:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)
200g Chinese red beans or Adzuki beans
35g light muscovado (brown) sugar
1 1/2 tsp flavourless vegetable oil (optional)
And here's what you'll need to do
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