Red Bean Paste (Two Ways) (红豆沙 Hong Dou Sha)
March 5, 2022  Print
Red bean paste is used extensively in Asian desserts. Homemade red bean paste is actually super easy to make. Although you can buy fine red bean paste from Asian grocery stores, the coarse kind is not that easy to find. Today’s recipe covers both coarse and fine red bean paste, which you can choose from depending on the occasion and personally preference. I will cover a few desserts using red bean paste in the coming weeks.
My husband says red bean paste does not look very photogenic, so I apologize in advance. For those that have tried it before, you know that the taste is much better than the appearance!
This recipe does have a long preparation time because the red beans need to be soaked ahead of time. Soaking the beans makes it much easier to cook and also saves cooking time and energy. Once the red beans become soft from cooking, it only takes minutes to make the final product. You can also reduce or increase the amount of sugar that the recipe calls for. The sweetness becomes more noticeable after cooling.
Gluten Free, Vegan
Preparation Time: overnight or 8 hours soaking time
Total Time: ~9 hours
Servings: makes about 3 cups combined red bean paste
- 1 cup red beans
- ~3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup granular sugar
- Soak the 1 cup of red beans in water overnight or for at least 8 hours (soaking makes the red beans easier to cook and also saves time and energy). The water level should be at least 1 inch (2.5cm) above the red beans.
- When the red beans are done soaking, rinse them a few times and put them in a medium sauce pan. Add about 3 cups of water to the sauce pan so the water level is at least 1 to 2 inches above the red beans (the amount of water does not need to be precise). Set the heat to medium-high. When the water boils (about 10 minutes), cover the lid and lower the heat to low and simmer for at least 40 minutes to soften the red beans. If after 40 minutes, there is still quite a lot of water, remove the lid and raise the heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Filter the liquid from the solid parts. There should be about 3 cups of boiled, soft red beans. Save the water used to boil the red beans.
- Separate the boiled red beans into two equal portions, about 1.5 cups each. This recipe uses half to make coarse red bean paste, and the other half make fine red bean paste.
- Coarse Red Bean Paste: Add half (~1.5 cups) of the boiled red beans in a skillet under low heat. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Keep tossing the red beans around with a wooden spatula. Use the back of the spatula to flatten the red beans occasionally. When most of the water has evaporated and the red beans look more condensed (about 10 minutes), take them out and place in a container to cool. Use the cooled paste right away or store the coarse red bean paste in a refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer for up to 2 months.
- Fine Red Bean Paste: Add half (~1.5 cups) of the boiled red beans into a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and a half cup to 1 cup of saved red bean water and blend until super smooth. Pour the fine red bean paste into a skillet at low heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Keep tossing until the oil is completely integrated and some water has evaporated. Take the fine red bean paste out and place into a container to cool. Use the cooled paste right away or store in a refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer for up to 2 months.
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