Recently I was given a packet of red beans (Azuki beans) by my cousin sister who had bought it personally from Japan. To my astonishment, these Japanese red beans are as shiny as pearls. They are totally different from those sold in the local market. Therefore, I picked this recipe to try out these beans. The results is: The paste texture is thick and very smooth. The beans were so soft that it will “melt” into your mouth. It is simply marvelous!
Below is my modified version (originated from this source)
1500 ml water
200g red beans 红豆
30g dried lotus seeds 干莲子
10g dried lily bulbs 干白合
1 quarter (or half) dried tangerine peel 陈皮 – soaked until soft, scraped off the pith (optional)
5-6 pandan leaves 香兰叶 – tied together (optional)
½ rice bowl yellow crystal rock sugar 黄晶冰糖 (or any type of rock sugar)
- Wash red beans, dried lotus seeds and dried lily bulbs. Remove bitter pit from lotus seeds. Soak with clean/ filter water for 2 hours. (Remove lily bulbs before 2 hours if they are too soft).
- Bring water to boil. Then, add in red beans (including water used for soaking), dried lotus seeds, dried lily bulbs and dried tangerine peel.
- When the water re-boils, turn the heat into medium low flame and simmer for 2 hours. Cover the lid during the cooking process. Use a bigger pot if necessary. Add in pandan leaves and boil for ½ hour. Remove pandan leaves and dried tangerine peel.
- Then boil under high heat for another half an hour.
- Boil the red bean until it turns to paste form and with appropriate water level. Add in water crystal rock sugar.
- Do not soak red beans for too long. Max 1-2 hours. If no time to soak, just extend the cooking time. Do not soak red beans with hot water.
- Pandan leaves and dried tangerine peel are 2 optional items but they are essential to increase the aroma.
- Water can be added during the cooking process. The ratio between the red beans and the water is subject to personal preference. It is important that red bean paste should not contain too less red beans otherwise it will become red bean soup.
- Rock sugar should be added towards the end. Otherwise the red beans will not turn to paste.
- The reason for boiling red beans with high heat is to make it become paste.
- Fresh lotus seeds and lily bulbs can be used but the cooking time must be reduced especially for fresh lily bulbs.
(a) Japanese red beans
(b) Dried lotus seeds (c) Dried lily bulbs
(d) Fresh lily bulbs