Smooth Red Bean Paste
I have written a post on Azuki bean that is perfect for additions to desserts. In this post, I have made a variation for a smoother red bean paste that has a more pliable consistency that is suitable as fillings for a lot of Asian desserts like mochi, fried pancakes, Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls and for fillings for tang yuen and mooncakes.
If you have not worked with red beans much, it is actually quite simple to cook with a few easy steps to follow:
Par boil the beans
When preparing for this red bean paste, dried beans are used and they can often be found in any Asian groceries. Try to buy the premium quality dried red beans to avoid too much rejects and for good eating quality.
The dried beans needs to be par boiled for several minutes before soaking them in cold water overnight and the boiling process only takes around 3 - 5 minutes. By par boiling the dried beans, it gets rid of any nasties that may be in the bean during packing.
Bad Beans floats on top of water
Like any dried beans, when you submerge the beans into water, the bad beans tend to float above water. These bad beans are usually gassy and you don't really want them in your paste. Skim off any floating beans if you see them. Good Quality beans will not have as much "floaters".
Soaking beans overnight
Once the dried red beans have been par boiled. They are then strained and washed in cold water. Pour enough cold water over the beans in a bowl to ensure that they are fully submerged under water. The beans are then left to soak for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight.
Soaking the beans overnight allows the beans to absorb the water and soften slightly, which ultimately shortens the cooking time.
You can cook the beans without pre soaking them but that would just mean that you need to cook them for a longer time.
How to achieve a smooth Red Bean Paste
Once the red beans are boiled and cooked. Strain and reserve some of the red bean water then add it back to the cooked beans. Blend the Red bean and the water to a puree with a food processor or a stick blender until well blended.
If you want a really smooth paste, pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. Add the sugar, oil and salt (optional) then place it over a deep non stick frying pan, sprinkle some glutinous rice flour then cook over low heat until the water starts to evaporate and the the puree thickens to a smooth paste.
In this recipe, it is recommended to use glutinous rice flour as it gives the paste a more pliable consistency when it thickens. This is ideal if you are using this paste for a filling of a dessert that needs to be rolled to a ball for example.
The cooking process takes around 15 to 20 minutes more or less depending on the quantity you are making them in and it is crucial that you do not walk away from this step to prevent the paste from catching at the base of the pan and burn.
Red bean paste can be made and stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks if stored properly.
Red bean paste
150 g Dried Red bean
500 ml Water(A) - for par boiling
500 ml Water(B) - for soaking
1l water (C) - for boiling
180 g Caster Sugar
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp glutinous rice flour + 1 Tbsp water
Red Bean Paste
1. Place 150g of dried red bean with 500 ml of water (A) into a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, then strain the hot water. Place the par boiled red beans into a clean bowl then add the 500 ml of cold water (B) over the beans ensuring that the red beans are fully submerged in the cold water.
Leave the red bean to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
2 Drain the soaked red bean then place the beans together with 1 l water (C) in a deep saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat, and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour until when pressed between your fingers, the beans crushed easily and is tender. Check the water level every 15-20 minutes to ensure that it doesn't go dry. Top up with more water if necessary.
3 . Once the beans are cooked, strain the beans from the water, then add back 150 ml of the red bean water to the cooked red beans. Transfer into a deep jug then stick blend the red bean mixture until smooth. (You can use a food processor is you have one) Strain the red bean puree over a fine mesh strainer then whisk in the the sugar, oil and salt. Mix the glutinous rice flour with 30 ml of water and whisk until they are well combined, then add it into the red bean puree.
4. Place the red bean puree into a non stick deep non stick fry pan then continue to cook over medium heat until it thickens to a paste stirring continuously to prevent the base of the pan from sticking. This process will take approximately 15-20 minutes. Don't walk away from stirring or the base can easily catch and burn.
5 . Once the red bean paste has thicken to a paste, turn off the heat and transfer the red bean paste into a bowl to cool fully wrapping it with cling film touching the surface..
The red bean paste can be pre made a day ahead. Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge.