Red bean paste
Red bean paste or Azuki bean paste is a sweet, dark red bean paste originating from China. It is used in Chinese cuisine, Japanese confectionery, and Korean cuisine. It is prepared by boiling and mashing azuki beans and then sweetening the paste with sugar or honey. The husk of the beans may be removed by sieving before sweetening, which leads to a smoother and more homogeneous paste.
Red bean paste is graded according to its consistency. In Chinese cuisine, the most common types are:
- Mashed: Azuki beans are boiled with sugar and mashed. The paste is smooth with bits of broken beans and bean husk. Depending on the intended texture, the beans can be vigorously or lightly mashed. Some unmashed beans can also be added back into the bean paste for additional texture. This is the most common and popular type of red bean paste eaten in Chinese confections. Can also be eaten on its own or in sweet soups.
- Smooth: Azuki beans are boiled without sugar, mashed, and diluted into a slurry. The slurry is then strained through a sieve to remove the husk, filtered, and squeezed dry using cheesecloth, and then finally sweetened. Oil, either vegetable oil or lard, is usually added to the relatively dry paste to improve its texture and mouth feel. Smooth bean paste is mainly found as fillings for Chinese pastries.
In Japanese cuisine, the most common types are:
- Tsubuan (粒餡), whole red beans boiled with sugar but otherwise untreated
- Tsubushian (潰し餡), where the beans are mashed after boiling
- Koshian (漉し餡), which has been passed through a sieve to remove bean skins; the most common type
- Sarashian (晒し餡), which has been dried and reconstituted with water
- Black bean paste: The sweet Asian sauce made from mung beans
- Chinese fermented black beans: Fermented soyabeans that are used to make black bean sauce