Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sweet Azuki Bean Paste

Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have azuki beans.

azuki beans© by Haalo

Azuki (or Aduki/Adzuki) beans do look a little like chestnut coloured tic tacs but they are a highly starchy legume, a relative of both the black-eyed pea and mung bean.

High in fibre and an excellent source of protein they also contain good levels of Iron and Thiamine.

The most well known traditional use for these beans is sweet bean paste and as I am a bit of a traditionalist at heart, I really can't think of anything better to make.

The process is extremely simple - there's only two ingredients, three if you included water and the end result is something quite different.

sweet azuki bean paste© by Haalo

Sweet Azuki Bean Paste

1 cup azuki beans
1 cup sugar

Prepare the beans:

Rinse the beans and place them in a bowl - cover with 3 cups of water and let this stand overnight to soak.

The next day, throw away any beans that are floating on top of the water. Drain and rinse briefly.

soaked azuki bean© by Haalo

As you will see they have swelled up considerably when compared to their original state.

Make the paste:

Place the drained beans into a pan and cover with 2 cups of water. Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil, turn the temperature down and let this simmer until the beans have become soft and pulpy and the water has been absorbed.

Note - you may need to add a little extra water during this time to ensure it doesn't dry out before reaching this soft stage.

When the beans are soft enough, sprinkle in the sugar and stir well to dissolve. You'll find that the mixture slackens at this stage but don't worry it will firm up. Take a potato masher and start stirring and mashing until a smoothish paste has formed.

You can leave as is or take it one step further and use a stick blender to turn it into a smoother paste, which is the route I took.

sweet azuki bean paste© by Haalo

Place the paste into a sealable container and store in the fridge.

If you enjoy sweetened chestnut puree then you're going to really enjoy this - they are amazingly similar in flavour.

From the photo show above I've used the paste as a filling for my pikelets - which is a take on the traditional Japanese dish of Dora Yaki. You could also use it as an alternative to jam/jelly on toast.


  1. I am in love with this recipe! I used to buy Chinese pastries filled with red bean paste all the time, but haven't been able to have them for years. I must try my own version with this filling!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I met my very first azuki bean in Honolulu at a shave ice place, although they don't sweeten them when served that way. It was a really interesting taste sensation!

    Casual Kitchen

  3. I bought azuki beans last week and was so excited to try them that I forgot to soak them, boiled them for hours, and was left with crunchy little beans that wouldn't become a paste even after going through a food processor. Today is attempt two and your post is providing me some encouragement!

  4. i love it!
    i think that's what chinese call "red bean". didnt know it's actually that simple to make paste at home!
    thx for posting, cant wait to make some red bean pastry!

  5. I am not a big fan of beans only because I can't have too much of it. I do want to make daifuku so will give it a go! Beautiful photos as usual :)

  6. Thanks Ricki - this recipe will provide quite a bit of filling so you'll be able to make alot of pastries!

    Thanks Daniel - i was quite taken by how much they remind me of chestnuts

    Thanks Dolly - hope it all turns out this time!

    Thanks Lulu - it comes together quite quickly as long as you soak the beans first and then cook them until they start to fall apart.

    Thanks Penny - i'll keep an eye out for your daifuku

  7. I have always wondered how to make red bean paste. Thank you so much for the clear tutorial!


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