I recall one of my first experiences with red adzuki beans. I was 4 years old and my Mom had cooked up a pot of the beans earlier in the day. She chilled them in the fridge, and after I ate my dinner, I had my first taste of them.
The beans were creamy, sweet and delicious. It’s simple, yet still one of my favourite Chinese desserts.
Adzuki red bean paste is a versatile ingredient in Chinese and Asian baking. Chances are, if you’ve ever had a steamed bun, glutinous rice ball, or mooncake, you’ll have encountered a sweetened red bean paste option.
WHAT IS RED BEAN PASTE?
Chinese red bean paste is a sweetened paste made from red adzuki beans. The beans are cooked with sugar until soft and then pureed to a smooth consistency.
You can find readily-packaged red bean paste in Asian supermarkets if you’re looking for convenience.
However, it is simple to make homemade red bean paste. I like to make the red bean paste from scratch, since I can control how sweet it is and what goes into it.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
The red bean paste filling is slightly sweet and earthy, similar to mashed sweet potato.
Homemade bean paste has a slight bit of graininess due to the bean’s natural texture.
IS RED BEAN PASTE VEGAN?
Yes. The paste is completely vegan.
INGREDIENTS IN RED BEAN PASTE
My homemade adzuki red bean paste consists of only 4 ingredients:
- adzuki beans
- granulated sugar
- a touch of coconut oil
I like to add a bit of coconut oil for texture and additional flavour. If you don’t like coconut, you can use a neutral vegetable oil instead.
HOW TO MAKE RED BEAN PASTE IN AN INSTANT POT
The night before you want to make the paste, soak the dry adzuki beans. This gives the beans a chance to soften.
Ad the drained beans, sugar and water in to the Instant Pot.
Set to the BEANS/CHILI function on high pressure and set it to cook for 25 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to blend the beans into a paste, or transfer to a blender to puree.
Depending on how thick the paste is, you may need to cook the paste down in a small pot.
Finally, once it’s thickened, stir in the coconut oil to finish.
HOW TO USE THE PASTE
It’s a versatile filling that can be used in cinnamon-style rolls, or as a spread.
Or if you’re like me, just eat it by the spoonful. 😉
STORING THE PASTE
If you’re not able to use up all the homemade adzuki red bean paste, you can store the paste the fridge for up to 1 week.
For a longer storage time, keep it in an airtight, freezer-friendly container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Let me know if you try out this recipe for homemade red bean paste. Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Homemade Adzuki Red Bean Paste
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 100 g red azuki beans soaked overnight
- 96 g granulated sugar
- 400 ml water
- 15 g coconut oil
- The night before making the beans, soak the adzuki beans in big pot of water.
- The next day, drain the water from the beans.
- Add the drained beans into the Instant Pot along with the sugar and water.
- Place the lid on and set the valve to SEAL.
- Set to BEANS/CHILI function on high pressure for 25 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the cooked beans. (Or transfer to a blender to puree).
- Transfer the blended beans to a small saucepot.
- Cook over medium heat until it thickens (it should be thick enough for a spoon to stand up on its own when it's stuck into the paste).
- Stir in the coconut oil and remove from heat.
- Transfer to a container if not using right away and let cool.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or for longer-term storage, place into the freezer for up to 3 months.