August 24, 2007

Sweet Red Bean Paste

1 cup dried red beans*
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil

Place the beans in a large pot. Cover with water and boil until soft (warning: this can take about 2 hours, depending on your beans) adding additional water if needed. Drain. Mash the beans with the sugar. Heat the oil in a pan, add the beans and cook until all of the moisture has cooked out. Store in an air tight container.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cup red bean paste

*aka azuki beans, not kidney beans. They are small and rather plump.

My thoughts:
I love read bean flavored things, red bean ice cream, red bean candies and most of all red bean steamed buns. You can buy it already made in a can, but if you can find dry red beans at an Asian market is isn't difficult to make you own paste. The beans are so soft, they don't have to soaked overnight, although you can-just cut down on the boiling time. Red bean paste can be used in a variety of Korean, Japanese and Chinese recipes, sometimes with minor variations to taste. Some common uses are to fill steamed buns, in red bean pancakes, sesame balls, steamed cakes, soup, yummy mochi, mooncakes, glutenous rice balls and ice cream. And if you are a hard core red bean fan with a love of kitch (like I am) be sure to check out Anpanman, a superhero who is also a sweet bean paste filled bun (anpan).