Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Make Azuki (Red Bean) Paste (自家製紅豆沙餡料)


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I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day celebration.  We spent the weekend at my In-Law's place and we had a blast.  Maybe I'll share a few pictures with you in a future post.  For now, let's check out today's recipe.

Red bean paste and I go way back!  It’s a popular Chinese/Asian ingredient that you’ll find in many traditional desserts.  I think it’s safe to say that we have a love-hate relationship with it.  How?  I’m glad to tell you this love-hate relationship is less complicated than a love story involving a real person.  I simply love red bean paste in certain desserts, and hate it in some others.  Isn't it quite extreme?  Maybe after all, it’s not the problem of the red bean paste, but “other” ingredients in certain dessert that made me hated it?  I thought I would never know why....



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So, my conclusion is that it’s not the red bean paste’s fault.  I guess I do love it after all.  It’s a wonderful addition in many desserts, such as these Coconut and Azuki Glutinous Rice Cake 椰汁紅豆糯米糕 that I always make duirng Chinese New Year; Black Sesame Macarons with Black Sesame Buttercream and Adzuki Beans; or for these Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅.  The red beans I used here are the Azuki beans (see picture above).  They are slightly bigger than the regular red beans you might find in American markets.  So, if you’re make this recipe, you might want to get the Azuki beans from the Asian markets or online here.  Otherwise, your cook time might be less if the size is smaller.


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Another key ingredient in this recipe is the Chinese Cane Sugar (片糖), see picture above.  I know, somehow the English translation said “brown sugar” (in pieces?) on the package.  But as the ingredient said, they are really “cane sugar”.  So, just make sure this is the type you use.  Or else, you can substitute with turbinato (raw) sugar.  They taste pretty much the same.


This is how the cane sugar “pieces” look (see picture below)!  Don’t you just love all these translations?  I always have so much fun with them.  Open-mouthed smile

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Back to the recipe.  Here’s how I make these red bean paste. 

1) Place Azuki beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least an inch above the top of the beans. Cover with plastic wrap and let them soak overnight.

2) This is how they look after soaking for a night, all plumped up and ready to go.

3) Transfer the beans to a strainer and rinse under cold tap water. Discard soaking water.

4) Place bean in a large pot and add just enough water to cover the beans. Cook on medium high until water comes up to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Taste a bean and it should be tender. Then, add the cane sugar and salt and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook uncovered and stirs constantly with a wooden spoon until water is almost all absorbed by the beans.

6) This is how the bean paste should look like. Remove from heat, let cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. Or, you can wrap them individually in small portion and store in the freezer for future use.

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Pretty simple right?  Of course it is.  There are many ways to use these red bean paste other than the recipes link I shared above.  I’ll share more recipes using this red bean paste in the near future. 

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Of course, you can always buy ready made canned ones.  But I really adore the homemade version because I can adjust the sweetness in mine.  The canned ones are always a little too sweet for me.  With this less sweet homemade version, you can really taste the earthy flavor of the red bean.  This red bean paste is really starchy, slightly creamy, and with the perfect amount of sweetness, like all good beans paste should be.  Yes, I eat it by the spoonful too!  They are that good!  Please don’t judge.  You might do the same if you make these goodness. 

So, the mystery of my love-hated relationship with the red bean paste was solved ever since I made my own paste at home.  It was the quality if the paste that made me dislike it with certain desserts.  I'm so glad that we have mended our relationship.  After all, red bean paste is something that I don't want to miss in my life.


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Red Bean Paste  (自家製紅豆沙餡料): (Printable Recipe)
1 Cup Azuki Bean (dry)
6 to 8 ounce cane sugar (片糖)**
water for soaking and cooking
a pinch of kosher salt

Place Azuki beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least an inch above the top of the beans. Cover with plastic wrap and let them soak overnight.

The next day, transfer the beans to a strainer and rinse under cold tap water. Discard soaking water. Place bean in a large pot and add just enough water to cover the beans. Cook on medium high until water comes up to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste a bean and it should be tender. Then, add the cane sugar and salt and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook uncovered and stirs constantly with a wooden spoon until water is almost all absorbed by the beans. Remove from heat, let cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. Or, you can wrap them individually in small portion and store in the freezer for future use.

**6 ounces of sugar yields the perfect amount of sweetness if you're using the red bean for dessert toppings such as this one.

Go ahead and use 8 ounces if you use the red bean paste as fillings such as these.



109 comments:

  1. I love red bean paste. To be honest, I think I can eat it every single day if I can. I love Chinese red bean soup which is served in some chinese restaurant, and I like ALL of red bean wagashi (mainly mochi). If I have to pick red bean paste or chocolate, I simply cannot pick. It's first time for me to see the brown sugar pieces like that. So cool! I'll check Chinese supermarket next time. :)

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    1. Thanks, Nami. I agree, I think I can eat red bean paste everyday too. I adore the Chinese red bean soup too. Not too many Chinese restaurant make them anymore, how sad. But at least, we can make it at home. Yeah, those cane sugar is quite popular in Chinese dessert soup. It adds really nice depth of flavors to sweet treats.

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  2. Wow Amy, homemade red bean paste...looks great. Now you can make a variety of desserts with it ;-)
    Hope you are having a lovely week :D

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    1. thank you, Juliana. Yeah...the red bean paste is so good in many treats. Hope you like it too.

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  3. I've eaten red bean paste of course, but never made it. I definitely need to try sometime! I, too, often find it too sweet, and I can correct than when I make my own. Good stuff - thanks.

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    1. Thank you. Yeah. it's quite easy to make. Best of all you can adjust to your liking on the sweetness. Hope you'll give this a try. :)

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  4. So glad you had a great time. I had no idea how simple this was!

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    1. Thank you, Belinda. I agree, it's much easier to make than most thought (including me before I tried my hands on it). :)

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  5. I have never eaten much less made red bean paste, but I am inspired to now with this tutorial. I'm sure I would like it. I'll let you know what I think.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Yes, please let me know how it goes if you try. :) Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  6. Being in Malaysia, I get all of the ingredients over here. In fact we have many varieties to pick from. Red beans are also sold under different brands and sometimes its hard to decide which one to buy.

    I will agree with you, the home made is still the paste. For us, its about the sugar content, mainly because of my other half's diabetics.

    I love the paste so much, that the dig into the filling right away and throw away the pastry. Beautifully made.

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    1. Thank you. Oh...then making your own is definitely the way to go. You can use sweetener instead of sugar so your other half can enjoy this as well. ;) I can simply eat this paste by the spoonful....lucky if any make to a pastry. hahaha...

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  7. Mmm, I love this paste, I really want to try this :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Let me know how it goes if you try. :) I'm going to make another batch tonight. Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  8. One of my favourite bean pastes! Green bean paste is my favourite filling in a Malaysian/Nyonya mochi-like snack called angku kueh. I love that by making it my own, I can control the sweetness! Sometimes we get those that are toothnumbingly sweet.

    ~Jayne

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    1. Thank you, Jayne. I love the green bean paste too. :) I agree, the pre-made one are always too sweet for my liking.

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  9. Looks delicious. I remember eating this in ice cream of moon cakes when I lived in China.

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    1. Oh yeah....it's wonderful in ice cream and moon cakes. :)

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  10. red beans are something i love to prepare stew with and have ample on my steamed rice...this recipe looks super interesting

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    1. hm....I sometimes add red beans on my steam rice too. :) This one is more as a filling for other recipes. So, it's the basic for many red bean treats. :)

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  11. I don't know that I've ever had red bean paste...so cool that you made a homemade version!

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    1. I guess this is more popular in Asian cooking/bakery. :) But more people love it after trying.

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  12. Amy, this is such a great food to make. Once ready, I can imagine the countless creations you can do with it. I love it with sweet corn and shaved ice over them plus condensed milk. :)

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    1. Oh yeah...this red bean paste is good with many treats. hm....and your suggestion of sweet corn, shaved ice and condensed milk sounds really good. I have had that for quite a while. Now you've got me craving for it.

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  13. Oh!, we didn´t know anything about red bean paste.
    Thank you for share..
    Waiting for your pictures.....
    Have a good day.

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    1. Thank you, Laurel. Oh...wish I can share some with you. I love it mainly in buns or with mochi. :)

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  14. I discovered the azuki bean in desserts at the Rose Bakery in Paris, France. I think your paste could make all the difference, I've their recipe so can't wait to try it out.I didn't know about cane pieces.

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    1. oh...Would love to see the dessert and recipe from Rose Bakery. :) Will you post it on your blog?

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  15. Pass me a spoon please! Looks so delicious, Amy.

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    1. Thank you, Angie. Yes, a spoon was all I needed. :P

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  16. This looks incredible Amy! I love red bean paste desserts but have not attempted making any at home yet. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions, and like you said, it's great that you can control the sweetness level too! Hehe, I would definitely eat this by the spoonful!

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    1. Thank you Kelly. I agree, this red bean paste is so good as is. :P I just made another batch today as it's gone pretty quickly in my house.

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  17. Yum! I have always bought it, I have never tried it from scratch. Your photos are always so beautiful and appetizing :)

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    1. Thank you, Ann. Oh, I used to buy this paste too. But it's so simple to make. I made it once and never got the store bought ones anymore. :) Hope you'll give this a try too.

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  18. I love to eat red bean paste that is not too sweet so your home made ones would be perfect for me. I can eat them just like that and forgo my rice anytime.

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    1. LOL...I agree, just give me a bowl of red bean paste and a spoon. I'll be a happy girl. :P

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  19. Simply perfect! Those sugar sticks remind me of a candy bar; they're making me hungry just looking at them!

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    1. Thank you, Julie. Those cane sugar do look like candy bars. :) I love the extra smoky flavor it gives to the red bean paste.

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  20. OMgosh,
    that brown sugar is gorgeous. I've never seen that here. WOW
    Kick Butt presentation. I Want! Xx

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    1. Thank you. Oh...those cane sugar sticks are more popular in Asian cooking/desserts. :) You can find them in most Asian supermarket these days.

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  21. So this is how the paste in so many Japanese treats is made, how wonderful! Thanks for sharing this great post!

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    1. You're so welcome and thank you. :) Hope you'll give this a try soon.

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  22. Never had this before!!! Wanna try this!!!!

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    1. Thank you. Hope you'll give this a try. It's really good on many different recipes.

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  23. I've never tried this before but it looks absolutely delicious! That cane sugar, especially, has caught my attention!

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    1. Thank you, Ruby. Oh....the cane sugar really adds lot of depth to this red bean paste. It's wonderful in many different recipes. Hope you'll give it a try.

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  24. Very interesting Amy. I love learning about new foods to try and make. I have has this in different dim sum dishes but it is always nice to know what's behind the scene-so to speak!

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    1. Thank you, Abbe. Oh most definitely. Glad you enjoy this recipe and this post. :) Wish you a wonderful week.

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  25. I don't hate this bean paste but I am not overly crazy over it either:P But since it is so easy to prepare, I'll give it a try and maybe make some bao with this paste as the filling:D

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    1. I was like you before I made my own red bean paste. But after you've tried the homemade version, I'm sure you'll start to love this paste. ;) Hope you'll give this a try soon. And yes, I've posted a recipe with mini bao using this filling.

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  26. I love red bean paste and enjoy red bean 'tong sui'. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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    1. Thank you, Cheah. I love red bean tong-sui too. :) Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  27. Replies
    1. Sorry you're not a fan. I used to hate it when I first tried it at a dim sum place. But with this homemade version, I'm in love. I guess it's the quality of the bean and also how I prepared it to my own liking. :P But after all, it's okay to dislike certain kind of food. I still have quite a few that I don't like myself. hehe...

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  28. I don't think I've ever had this before, but it looks interesting and easy to make! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Georgia. This red bean paste filling is quite popular in many Asian treats and desserts. :) It certainly was easy to make at home.

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  29. I ADORE red bean paste but am always shocked at how expensive it is!! I love that it's so easy to make and am so happy I have the recipe now!

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    1. I agree, the store bough ones are just so expensive. I'm happy that I save tons of $ for making my own....and I have a lot more bean paste to share too. ;)

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  30. I am one of those who cannot make themselves love azuki bean paste... I tried it several times. In vain. Maybe, as you say, I should try it in different sweets. (I have only tasted azuki bean jelly-like looking bars). I don't like the floury texture. Your paste looks very appetising though. Looking at it I don't exclude the possibility of liking azuki sweet paste one day.

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    1. Well, I used to hate the starchy texture and overly sweet bean paste as well. I guess making my own to suit my liking solve the problem for me. You never know, you might be like me and love this bean paste one day. :)

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  31. Love red bean paste! My favorite is when it's in a pancake. I remember getting it from the Chinese market. It's so good! Thanks for sharing your recipe Amy.

    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker

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    1. ohh....I love the Chinese red bean pancakes too. :) Yum.

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  32. I have never had it but it looks easy to make! Another great tutorial.

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    1. Thank you. Oh....hope you can give this a try. This red bean filling is so good in so many treats. :) I'll share more recipe using this paste in the near future.

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  33. Amy, I have never had red bean paste, but I can assure you that I fell head over heals in love with azuki beans in the desserts that I enjoyed so much in my many travels to Thailand and Southeastern Asia. I am thrilled to read more recipes from your childhood and native culture. It makes me want to return to Asia very soon for a vacation and culinary bliss!

    xox
    Roz

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    1. Oh....this is the red bean paste used in many Asian desserts. :) I agree, tasting food from my childhood made me want to take a trip to Asia too. :)

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  34. LOVE adzuki and as a Malaysian, we usually have it for desserts in many recipes :)

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    1. Yeah....it's quite popular in Chinese desserts too. :) But I can really just eat the paste as the way it is as well.

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  35. Adzuki bean sweet are so wonderful, it's a shame they aren't more common outside of Asia! Homemade paste is definitely the best, but I've never made it with actual sugar cane before. That sounds like a real treat.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad that the red bean treats are quite popular in the Asian bakeries and restaurants here in L.A. :) The cane sugar gives a nice depth of flavor to this paste. Hope you'll give it a try.

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  36. That looks delicious. I think I love the taste of it more these days than I did as a child.

    PS: It's giveaway time on my blog! Hope you join: http://www.underlockandkeyblog.com/2013/06/angelorian-tradition-giveaway.html

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    1. Thank you. I agree, guess our taste buds are getting more sophisticated as time goes by. ;)

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  37. I was recently at a restaurant where they served red bean paste and it was amazing. Then I see this recipe! Thanks so much! :)

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    1. You're so welcome, Pamela. Glad you tried red bean paste before and loved it. :)

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  38. This is such a wonderful recipe, Amy. I love this paste is so many things like hobang, patbingsu, or mochi that this is really going to be helpful to me!!!

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    1. Thank you. Glad you love this recipe. I agree, this red bean paste can be stuffed into so many different treats. ;) Enjoy.

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  39. I bet your version is head and shoulders better than the prepared stuff. It's just like regular beans. Cooking the dried ones is so much tastier than the stuff out of the cans.

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    1. I agree, it's really is way better than can ones. :) Plus, it's a lot cheaper too.

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  40. What an interesting and informative post! I agree that homemade is almost always best, and it's great to be able to adjust the sweetness to suit your own preference.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. Yeah, I love the homemade version of this sweet paste for my treats. :)

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  41. Hi Amy, arh... I love red bean regardless red bean soup or make into paste. Your look great.... can make red bean bun. :)

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

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    1. Hehe...seems like you read my mind. I did make some red bean buns with this red bean paste filling....and more. Will post more recipes using this paste.

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  42. I haven't tried azuki beans before..But your dish looks so delicious..

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    1. Thank you, Gayathri. I think the red bean paste is more popular with Chinese and Japanese treats. :) Hope you'll give it a try soon.

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  43. I love red bean paste, Amy! Love them as a dessert soup, in Japanese pancakes, stuffed in almost anything. And I bet you know those little Chinese red bean pudding cakes? The stuff of my childhood dreams. I made them once and I bet they would be 100x better with your homemade paste. I also want to make red bean ice cream one day and it would be so good with this. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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    1. Thanks, Monica. Haha...oh yeah, this paste is good with the Chinese pudding cakes. And seems like you read my mind because the red bean ice cream recipe is coming up soon. ;)

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  44. The paste looks so healthy and filling...need to give a try with my kidney beans.

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    1. Thank you, Sanjeeta. I've never tried it with kidney beans before. Please let me know how they turn out if you try. :)

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  45. The paste looks so healthy and filling...need to give a try with my kidney beans.

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  46. Hubby & I were invited for another food-tasting session yesterday. This time, at a Japanese cafe selling matcha & azuki desserts apart from their food. Amy, u're surely a temptress! Hey, I know u like giveaways seeing your many sharing in FB. Hop over to join my latest Giveaway Open to All Worldwide @ Win Handmade Beaded Accessories By A 84-Yr-Old Granny!

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    1. Just checked out your review, great post. :) Thanks for inviting me to your giveaway. I'll go check it out right after.

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  47. A very helpful post indeed. I have always had azuki bean salad and never knew of it in paste form.

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    1. Oh the paste form is as a filling for different pastries and treats. :) Will share more recipes on those. And Azuki salad sounds wonderful too.

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  48. I too love azuki red bean paste in so many Japanese and Chinese treats or even just in a delicious sweet dessert soup. Making your own homemade sounds delightful and easy since I live in a place where all of these items are standard ingredients on the shelves. Take Care, BAM

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    1. Oh....red bean dessert soup sounds just wonderful now. A chilled bowl with a splash of evaporated milk is my favorite way to serve it.

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  49. I have never tried azuki red bean paste! I learn so many new ingredients and recipes with blogging! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I agree, I learn so many new ingredients and methods of cooking by reading other's blogs. Yours is very inspiring as well, Katerina. :)

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  50. Interesante receta de frijoles me encantan todos,saludos y abrazos.

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    1. Yes, this is more popular in Asia desserts. :) Thank you and hope you like it.

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  51. I love deserts with red bean paste, but I would never have thought to make my own! This looks awesome :)

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    1. Thank you, Amy. hehe....I've been paying too much for the store bought ones so it's always cheaper to make my own. plus, not overly sweet at all when I make my own version.

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  52. I always wanted to know how to make this. It's so common here in food outlets. Do u have a recipe for fermented bean paste used for savory cooking?

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    1. Thank you. hm...unfortunately, I don't have the recipe for the fermented bean paste. I will share if I get to find out how to make that. ;)

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  53. Homemade is most always better! I hope to try a dessert one day using red bean paste (the good stuff, or course!).

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    1. Thank you, Liz. Yeah, this red bean paste is good in so many desserts. Hope you like it.

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  54. This is what I always pick from the Asian market, whenever I have a craving for desserts! Now that I have a recipe, I will give it a shot at home.

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    1. Thank you, Nik. Hope you'll give it a try soon. It's really good in many sweet treat recipes.

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  55. This looks fantastic! And you must have great patience. I like sweet azuki beans but I never made it before. Mine comes from can or bag.

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    1. hehe....I used to get mine from the can. But making my own is truly simple too. So, I'm being cheap and make my own these days. Plus, I can adjust the sweetness to my family's liking, that's the best part.

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