A video tutorial on How to Make Red Bean Paste used in Asian pastries and desserts. Also tips on making it more suitable as a filling for mooncakes.
Red Bean Paste is one of the most popular ingredient in Chinese desserts. It is used in many pastries like Mooncakes and Shanghai Pancakes. Other kinds of desserts using Red Bean Paste include Jian Dui (Sesame Balls), Tau Sar Bao (Steamed Red Bean Buns, and Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls in Syrup), to name a few. Hence, I have had many request for a homemade version of this tasty ingredient. So excited to tell you that I have also produced a video of the process with tips on how to make it specifically more suitable as a filling for mooncakes.
When I think of a paste, I think of a finely mashed, pretty solid kind of ingredient without any sauce. For that reason, I prefer to call the more moist and liquid version Sweet Red Bean Mash to differentiate the two. The ingredients used and method of cooking are the same but Red Bean Paste requires additional steps to make it into a paste suitable as a filling for pastries and steamed buns.
The good thing about making your own Red Bean Paste is that you can control the ingredients that go into it. Most home cooks will use only red beans, desired amount of sugar, and sometimes a little oil. The color is that of the red beans and opaque. The texture is usually coarser unless a food mill is used to separate the skin from the flesh during mashing. It has a fresh red bean flavor.
Store bought pastes often have additional ingredients such as food coloring, oil, lotus seed, mung beans, lentils, and flour to bulk it up. The color is very dark, almost black. Texture wise, it is very smooth and glossy. Most store bought pastes have good flavor but they are usually very sweet. They are a convenient alternative.
Red Bean Paste is not difficult to make but it does take some effort. It requires someone to watch and stir the beans when it is cooking on the stove. For best results, always soak the beans overnight so that they cook faster and more evenly.
I used an immersion blender to puree the cooked red beans into a paste. You can also transfer it to a blender. For the finest texture, please use a food mill.
Note: Red Bean Paste will thicken and dry out slightly when it is cool. Store in air tight containers for up to a week in the refrigerator and up to a month in the freezer.
Red Bean Paste
- 12 oz red beans (340g)
- Sufficient water to soak and cover red beans in saucepan
- ¾ cup sugar (165g)
- ½ tsp salt
- Wash and drain red beans 2 to 3 times or until water runs clear. Top up with fresh water to cover beans. Soak for 4 to 8 hours.
- Drain red beans. Transfer to a medium size saucepan. Top up with enough fresh water to cover red beans.
- Place saucepan on the stove and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Top up with a little water when necessary.
- After an hour, most of the water would have evaporated and beans should be very soft. Turn off stove and allow red beans to cool.
- Using an immersion blender, pulse or blend red beans until smooth and fine.
- Place saucepan back onto the stove over medium heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir to melt the sugar. Turn off stove and allow red bean paste to cool.
- Transfer to air tight containers. Store in refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
UPDATE: September 21, 2016
I used 1 cup (250 grams) homemade Red Bean Paste to make these 3 Red Bean Paste Mooncakes. These are the medium sized mooncakes using a 125 grams mold. The dough is 35 grams and the filling is 80 grams each.