Sweet Red Bean Paste

Sweet red bean paste
Red bean paste.

 The Spruce

  • Total: 10 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 8 hrs
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 3/4 cups (5 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
168 Calories
0g Fat
37g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 3/4 cups (5 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 168
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 6g
Calcium 44mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

With this simple recipe, you can make sweet red bean paste, a staple in Chinese cuisine. Made from adzuki beans, red bean paste is used in Chinese dishes served for the New Year and other festivities. Foods served during this time of year, such as sesame seed balls and sweet bean paste pancakes, contain the paste. Sticky rice cakes, sweet rice pudding, and dumplings are other New Year foods made with red bean paste. Such dishes are said to help one start the New Year with luck, good health and prosperity alike. 

Once you learn to make the paste from scratch, it will be that much easier to make the foods filled with the condiment. In fact, you can make a large batch of the paste to reserve as filing for a variety of dishes at the same time. So, why is red bean paste associated with the New Year? The color red symbolizes luck in China. You'll find that even many Chinese Americans paint the doors on their homes red for precisely the same reason. Fortunately, red bean paste isn't just thought to bring good luck to you; it's also good for you! Because the paste is made from beans, it is chock full of iron, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals essential to health. 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried red beans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sweet red bean paste recipe ingredients
    Gather the ingredients for red bean paste.  The Spruce
  2. To begin, wash the beans and throw out any that are damaged. (They may be misshapen or discolored.)

    Sweet red bean paste
    Wash the beans. The Spruce 
  3. Place the beans in a small to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover them with water and soak them overnight. (This helps shorten the cooking time and rids the legumes of gas.)

    Sweet red bean paste
    Place the beans in a medium sauce pan.  The Spruce
  4. The next day, bring the beans and water to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beans have softened. Add more water as necessary.

    Sweet red bean paste
    Bring the beans and water to a boil.  The Spruce
  5. Drain.

    Sweet red bean paste
    Drain the beans.  The Spruce
  6.  Process the beans in a blender until smooth.

  7. Remove them from the blender, and stir in the sugar.

    Sweet red bean paste
    Remove from blender and stir in the sugar.  The Spruce
    Sweet red bean paste
    Sweet red bean paste mixture.  The Spruce
  8. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the beans on medium-low heat (about 4 on an electric stove) for a few minutes until they are dry, pressing them gently with the back of a spatula to form a paste.

    Sweet red bean paste
    Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan.  The Spruce
    Sweet red bean paste
    Fry the beans on medium-low heat.  The Spruce
    Sweet red bean paste
    Cook the beans for about four minutes.  The Spruce
    Sweet red bean paste
    Pressing the beans gently with the back of a spatula to form a paste.  The Spruce
  9. Cool and use as called for in the recipe.

    Sweet red bean paste
    Cool the beans.  The Spruce
  10. That's it!

Tip

  • If you store homemade sweet red bean paste in a sealed container in the refrigerator, it should last for approximately one week. Throw out any unused portions after then.