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How to Make Chinese Red Bean Paste

Red bean paste, also known as sweet bean paste, or adzuki bean paste is used in a number of Chinese recipes such as bakery buns and moon cakes. It can be found canned in most Chinese grocery stores. However, making homemade red bean paste allows you to control both the taste and texture.

The recipe below is for a smooth sweet bean paste that I use for red bean paste buns and moon cakes. If you want a rougher, chunky texture then you can simply mash the beans instead of blending them in a food processor. To make the paste less sweet, simply use less sugar. Try this red bean paste recipe and let me know what you think in the Chinese food forum found here. Also, make sure to start this recipe the night before using the paste, because the beans need to soak overnight.

1 cup adzuki beans
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp peanut oil
  1. First rinse the beans under cold running water just to remove any loose dirt. Then add room temperature water, an inch above the beans, and let them soak overnight.

  2. The next day you will find that the beans absorbed most of the water. Then add more water so that it is an inch above the beans and heat this on the stove on high. Let it come to a boil.

  3. Once it boils, cover, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for an hour and a half.

  4. After and hour and a half, remove the lid and make sure that the beans are fork tender. Then drain them thoroughly in a colander.

  5. Once they are drained place them in a food processor and blend until smooth, about a minute. This time may differ depending on the type of food processor.

  6. Then add the sugar and the oil and blend for another minute or two, or until you have an even and smooth consistency.

  7. Then place this mixture in a large pan and heat it on high stirring constantly for 7 to 10 minutes, or until it becomes thick and sticks to your spoon or spatula. Make sure to keep stirring here so that the mixture doesn’t burn. Cooking the paste not only thickens the mixture, but brings out the flavors of both the beans and sugar.

  8. Once it thickens, remove it from the heat and let it cool down. Then you can either use it in your recipe that day or store it in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid. This will last a week and a half and makes 1¼ cups of red bean paste.
To see a video on how to make this Chinese red bean paste, click here.

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