Monday, August 20, 2007

Red Bean Paste Sweetened

Like every mom, I am constantly thinking of what kind of snacks to offer my kids in the afternoon. As I wanted to expand their taste to different snacks from around the world that is age-appropriate for their taste buds, I often return to the old faithful red bean paste made from red beans, sugar and a little oil. Like many colored beans, red beans is high in vitamin B, and has high antioxidant properties, so it's an added bonus in the kids' snacks.

In Asia, red bean paste is used to make a variety of desserts and snacks from fillings in freshly made buns sold at the bakery to fried snacks and steamed buns. Although it's available in ready-made cans, the home-made ones are my favorite as the taste is much better, and I can adjust the sweetness of the paste to my liking.
Making red bean paste is a straight forward process of cooking the beans in water, then adding sugar and blending it in the food processor, and finally cooking it again in a big wok with some vegetable oil. As I usually estimate the quantity when making this in the past, I decided to try this recipe from Grace Young's book Wisdom in the Chinese Kitchen, and it worked quite well.

12 ounces small red beans hoong dul or azuki red beans,about 2 cups
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbs vegetable oil Wash the beans, cover the cold water, and soak overnight. Drain beans and discard water. Place beans in a 3-quart saucepan, add 6 cups cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour, or until very soft. Monitor the pan to make sure water doesn't dry up. Drain and discard the water.
Place the beans in a food processor and process until smooth. Add brown sugar and process until just combined. In a non-stick wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bean paste and cook, stirring 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is dry. Remove from heat. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use and it will keep for 1 week.

Recipe doubled from Grace Yong's Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen

Note: To speed up the process, I used the pressure cooker to cook the beans after soaking them. The above recipe yields 3 cups which I use for different recipes like make steamed buns. I also freeze 1-cup portions in the freezer for future use. It will keep longer in the freezer.

18 comments:

san.y said...

I usually buy the canned ones, but will try to make some now.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi San.y,
It's easy to make, and I think you might like it more than the canned ones.

tigerfish said...

I think some also add orange peels in red bean paste, correct? And also lotus seeds. Maybe for red bean paste dessert soup.

I heard red bean is "heaty" compared to "green beans" which are more "cooling".

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Tigerfish,
You are thinking of red bean soup. This is red bean filling for bao and such. Glad to hear that it's 'heaty' as my kids have been consuming lots of chilled juices lately. ;)

akresource said...

hi, can i know how long this paste can be keep in fridge ?? wanted tp made for pau filling..Thanks in advance

akresource said...

sorry, i missed out you did mentioned keep in fridge for 1 wk..Err..in the freezer ?

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Akresource,
I put mine in the fridge for no more than a week with a siran wrap over it, but I've kept it in the freezer for more than 1 month, and it came out fine when I thaw it and used it in my paus. If you put it in the freezer, remember to put it in a freezer storage bag and seal tight so that it doesn't get frost-burn. Have fun with your pau making! :)

akresource said...

thanks..made thembyesterday but clour not as red as yrs..my is greyish..i used dark brown sugar followed recipe..pls advise.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Akresource,
Hmmm... Am wondering why yours turn grey. The dark brown sugar shouldn't make it grey. I'll try making it again and get back to you later today.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Aresource,
I did the recipe again, and it came out red like before. I am curious why yours turn out that way. Question: what red beans did you used? Besides the color, did it taste ok to you? How is the consistency? How long did you cook the red bean in oil?

akresource said...

normal red beans..taste ok..nice..cook in oil till dry about 20 mins..sorry, not actual 'grey' but kinda purple grey ..not as red as yrs. Today,i used it for pancake..i think it's to dry..slightly drop small pieces not smooth and shin texture..

East Meets West Kitchen said...

When you say normal red beans, are the the big or small ones? I'm perplexed about your results. And I don't know why. Sounds like your batch was a little dry. Maybe your heat was too high? Sorry I couldn't help. Maybe I should send you some of my red beans? haha!

akresource said...

ha.. thanks..to far away fr. Singapore..i bot r.bean is small one which used to cook desert.How long you cook it with suger if not too dry? do you add water? when i blend already looks dried as i drained all waterbefore blend..Anyway, i'll try again once this batch finished.

akresource said...

just finished up the balance ~ 700 gm for filling of red bean pau..i heat up by adding little oil and golden syrup to make it sweeter and wet to form paste ball...Hmm.. nice..result above Average....ha...but then i found the colur is better..Anyway..thanks for yr prompt reply always.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Aresource,
Just saw both your messages. I didn't realise that you have more left. Adding sugar, honey, oil and/or liquid to reheat it will make it softer. I tried my last batch with white sugar and it's definitely sweeter.
Now you're making me hungry for red bean paste ball! ;)

Jai said...

Excuse me, I live in a small yet growing town, but as of yet we don't have an Asian market is there a substitute for hoong dul? The only red beans I have found is for red beans and rice, a kidney bean. Thank you for your time.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Jai,
Thanks for coming by and for your comment. I haven't used kidney beans for red bean paste before, but I think it can be done. You'll have to cook the kidney beans longer as they are bigger in size. Where do you live, if I may ask?

Jai said...

Hello Sorry for getting back to you so late, I am from Quincy, Ill.
It's small but we are expanding more each year... Just not in the way of markets. we have several but they are all owned by the same companies it seems. I myself am scared to death of driving so I don't get out much.