You can certainly purchase a ready-made one in cans, but if you prefer a less sweet version and control the thickness, making your own Red Bean Paste is the way to go.
Red bean paste is one of my favorite filling in Asian sweet treats. In fact, I am actually a little bit picky about it. Sometimes I hoped its consistency was a little bit chunkier or I thought the food combined with the paste became overly sweet. Moreover, the ready-made paste sold in the grocery stores usually contains preservatives, food coloring, and oil. Those reasons made me truly like to know how to make my own red bean paste, making it more versatile for different uses.
About Red Bean Paste
Other names : red bean jam, adzuki bean paste, 豆沙 (dòushā), 紅豆沙 (hóngdòushā), 餡 (an), 餡子 (anko), 小倉 (ogura), 小豆餡 (azukian), 粒餡 (tsubuan), 潰し餡 (tsubushian), 漉し餡 (koshian), 晒し餡 (sarashian), 단팥 (danpat), 팥소 (patso), 단팥소 (danpatso), 거피팥소 (Geopipatso)
Red bean paste is a paste made of adzuki beans. It is widely used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean confectioneries. The paste is made by boiling and mashing the adzuki beans, and then it is sweetened or left as it is. It is not that difficult to make, but it does take some effort and time. You can certainly purchase a ready-made one in cans, but it can be quite sweet. However, if you prefer a less sweet version, making your own is the way to go.
There are mainly two types of paste, mashed and smooth ones. The ingredients used and method of cooking are the same, but the smooth one requires additional steps of pureeing and straining the cooked beans to remove the husk.
Tips on Making Red Bean Paste
1. Soak adzuki beans overnight
Soaking adzuki beans is a matter of personal preference and not absolutely necessary. On the other hand, soaking the beans is believed to reduce cooking time and make beans easier to digest. Cover the beans with water and let them soak for 8-12 hours before cooking. Drain and cover them again in water. Boil the beans for 5 minutes, and then drain the beans again to remove any impurities.
2. Mash the beans to your liking
There are mainly two types of paste, mashed and smooth. The mashed one is smooth with chunks of broken beans and bean husk. Meanwhile, the smooth one is diluted into a slurry and then strained through a sieve to remove the husk to achieve its velvety texture. You can certainly choose which one to make depending on what kind of red bean dessert you want to make.
In this recipe, I made my paste chunky. To speed up the process, I used a hand blender to mash the cooked red bean into a chunky paste. You can also alternatively put half of the cooked beans into a food processor, puree them, and combine them with the smooth red bean back into the unmashed beans. For the smooth paste, I recommend to put all of the cooked beans into the food processor, puree them, and strain the puree through to remove the husk. In short, using a hand blender or food processor will get the job done a lot faster than mashing the beans manually.
3. Add sugar in parts
One of the advantages of making your own red bean paste is you can adjust its sweetness. If you prefer a less sweet version, you can divide and add sugar in parts. After the sugar melts, the paste should look shiny and loose. It will thicken after it cools down. Once you move the mixture to the refrigerator to chill, it will further thicken into a proper paste.
How to store red bean paste
Red bean paste is easily spoiled. It is better to refrigerate the paste as soon as it cools down in a tight container if not eaten right away. It will last for 1-2 weeks in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer.
Recipes with Red Bean Paste
If you don’t know what to do with this Red Bean Paste, take a look at these recipes.
- Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake
- Dango with Red Bean Paste
- Red Bean Mochi with Kinako
- Red Bean Ice Cream
- Iced Matcha Milk with Red Bean