Learn how to make sweet bean paste at home. Use red bean, green mung bean, or yellow split beans. Simmer slowly on the stovetop, or use your pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time. Directions and tips are all here!
Sweet Bean Paste
Sweet bean paste is a popular dessert ingredient in many Asian countries. Served warm in the form of soup or cold the form of drinks like red bean ice (my favorite!).
Why make it at home, you asked?
Well, for one pre-made one are not easily accessible. I personally have to travel to a specialty store just to be able to buy it. So, the next best thing is to do is make it myself. The ingredients needed to make it is much more accessible in many grocery stores.
Type of beans
This recipe highlights using 3 types of beans commonly used in Asian cuisines. They have slightly different flavor profile
Also known as azuki/ adzuki beans. This variety is popularly used in many Japanese and Chinese desserts. I find its flavor much deeper and earthier than the other two. Likely the reason why it's more widely used in many dessert recipes.
Green Mung Beans
We call this monggo or munggo back home in the Philippines. This bean paste is popularly used as a filling for ensaymada panaderia-style (click to get the recipe). It can also be used as a topping for halo halo much like red bean paste.
Yellow mung bean
Also called split yellow mung beans. Basically the same as green mung beans without the skin and that's been split. This bean paste is used as a filling for hopia (moon cake-like pastry), steam and baked buns, and moon cakes.
How To Make Sweet Bean Paste
Here are my top tips on how to make sweet bean paste at home:
- To shorten the cooking time, use a pressure cooker to cook the beans. With this method, you don't need to pre-soak the beans. That's one less step to do 🙂
- If cooking on a stove-top, soak the beans overnight. This will soften the beans and should help cut down the cooking time.
- Drain excess water after cooking. This will help form the paste easily.
- If you prefer a smooth consistency, puree the boiled beans in a food processor or blender.
- For a soft and velvety texture, add oil or butter alternatively. Recommended if the paste is going to be use as a filling.
Storage and Shelf-life
Store the sweet bean paste in an airtight container. It can last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer. Use a freezer safe plastic container if freezing.
Frequently asked questions
If cooking in pressure cooker, cooking time is around 20 to 22 minutes. For stove top, simmer covered for 45mins to 1 hour. Start checking the doneness at around 30mins. Add small amounts of water as necessary.
Scoop a spoonful of the beans and mash it with your fingers. If it easily mushed, then it's done.
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Sweet Bean Paste
- ½ cup mung beans (red, green or yellow)
- 1 ½ - 2 cups water
- ½ cup white sugar (see note 1)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Rinse beans in tap water two times. Discard broken beans which usually float to the top. Drain and discard water.
To cook in stovetop
- Soak beans at room temperature overnight. Discard the soaking water.
- Add beans and 2 cups of water in a pot. Cover with lid and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low once it starts boiling. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until it's soft and can be easily mashed with your fingers. Add water as necessary.
To cook in pressure cooker/instant pot
- Place beans and 1 ½ cups water in pressure cooker. Place and lock the lid. Set the heat to high until cooker begins to sizzle and steam comes out of the nozzle. Reduce the heat, pressure cook for 22 minutes. For instant pot: use high pressure, set valve to sealing.
- Release the pressure: use cold water release for stove-top pressure cooker, quick release if using instant pot.
Making the paste
- Pour cooked beans in a colander to drain excess water. Put beans in a blender or food processor. Add sugar and salt. Puree until smooth.
- Pour mixture in a pan or deep skillet. Turn on heat to medium-low. Cook until liquid has evaporated and consistency thickens. Stir frequently.
- Remove from heat and cool completely. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Transfer to a container and refrigerate if not using immediately.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Sugar - can be reduced up to ⅓ cup if preferred. Note that sugar is necessary to preserve the paste and extend its shelf-life.
- Butter or oil can be added to give the paste a velvety texture. Recommended if using the paste as a filling.
- Storage and Shelf-life: Store the sweet bean paste in an airtight container. It can last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer.
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