Continuing with dessert planning for Chinese New Year, I knew I had make some homemade sweet red bean paste. Often used in many Asian desserts and snacks, red bean paste can be found in steamed buns, sesame balls, ice cream, dumplings, and many other pastries.
I've used canned red bean paste before, but always found it way too sweet for my taste. Making your own is actually pretty easy, it just takes a bit of time but you can adjust the sugar and sweetness to your liking.
To start, the beans should be rinsed and soaked in water overnight to help reduce the cooking time. After soaking, the beans are drained and placed into a pot with enough water to cover them by a few inches and simmered until soft. The beans and cooking liquid are then pressed through a fine mesh strainer to remove the skins. You could also use a blender or food processor to blend the beans into a smooth paste without removing the skins first, but I prefer using the strainer for a smoother texture.
Sugar, salt, and vegetable oil are added to the paste, which is then cooked down to get rid of any excess liquid and thicken the paste up. Allow to cool and that's it, you now have red bean paste to use in any recipe you choose!
Growing up, I would often have steamed buns filled with this sweet bean paste on the weekend, so I'm definitely going to try making some. Along with ice cream, I've been experimenting with red bean cheesecake and cookies and I'll be getting a recipe up for them soon! Enjoy!
Homemade Red Bean Paste
Makes about 2-1/4 cups ( 537g) of paste
8 oz (229g) dried adzuki beans
Water as needed for boiling
1/2 cup (104g) white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (38g) vegetable oil
Rinse the beans and place in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak overnight. Drain and place the beans in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the red beans for 1-2 hours until soft, stirring occasionally. If there is still a lot of water in the pot, continue cooking until there is only a thin layer of water covering the beans
Press the beans and any excess liquid through a fine mesh strainer set over a pot. Discard the leftover skins. Add the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil to the red bean paste and cook over medium low heat, stirring often until the paste thickens. Allow to cool.