Red Bean Paste

Chinese: 紅豆沙 (hong dao sa)

Red bean paste is a very common sweet filling for many chinese buns and cakes.

Easy to make but take a bit of time and patient.


1lb or 450g Aduki bean or red bean (in chinese)
about 2 litres water
1 cup of sugar or more if you like it sweeter
1 cup of cooking oil (don't skimp on the oil or the bean paste will taste sandy and look crumbly, for traditional recipe amount of oil used is about twice this recipe)

  1. Wash and boil the beans with water till soft. I use pressure cooker which took about 30 - 35 minutes. If you boil on the stove if the water is drying up top it up with a bit more but not too watery.
  2. When cooked, leave to cool for bit. Then blend till very smooth.
  3. Sieve the beans. Force it through a metal sieve with a large metal spoon. If you don't mind the bean paste with bits of skin. Forget about this step.
  4. Stir in the sugar and oil.
  5. Cook at medium heat for about 30 - 35 minutes (or longer if your mixture is more watery than mine, see slide show). You need to keep stirring and scraping the bottom during cooking all the time. The mixture when hot will spit rapidly, so stand back a bit while stirring. If the spitting is too fierce turn the heat down a bit. Keep stirring if you get fed up turn off the heat have a cup of tea and come back continue cooking. When the mixture gets drier, the spitting will stop. You need to reduce the mixture till it looks like a thick paste (see slideshow). When you are happy, heat off and transfer to a bowl or container and leave to cool. The paste feels much thicker when cooled.
  6. Can keep in the fridge for couple of weeks if not tainted with dirty spoon or fingers. This bean paste can also freeze.
  7. When you are ready to use, if it feels a bit hard, warm it up a bit in a microwave for a minute.

I like bean paste quite thick, can roll into a ball without being sticky.


  1. I followed this recipe for black beans, but mine turned out really soft and oily. Does it make a difference on what type of oil used? I used Enova oil. Or maybe I gave in too soon before it thickened to a thick paste?

  2. Hi Diana,

    I have never use black beans for dau sa, so don't know whether it makes any difference.

    Did you soak the beans? With red beans (aduki) I don't soak just boil with water. If beans are soaked you will need less water for boiling maybe about 1.2 - 1.3 litres instead of 2 litres.

    Also it will take quite a long time to cook the paste if it is watery.

    I would suggest you continue cooking the paste till the paste thicken. If you don't want to do it today, can leave till tomorrow. Wok is easier, moisture will evaporate quicker.

    When the paste thicken, the oil will be absorbed.

    Do post a picture and show me how thick the paste is now, pour it off a ladle while snapping.

    If you have thickened it finally, take a piccy too I like to see it. Also let me know if it tastes good. I may try it myself.

  3. I cooked it more like you said, and it got thicker, but still a little oily. Couldn't find a nice place to post photos, so I put it up on shutterfly. ( I think I'll try again with the red beans this time. Thanks for the recipe. It's nice to be able to make some fresh bean paste. Much better than the canned stuff, which often tastes like the can itself.

  4. Are those your little boy and girl? cutie!

    I can see the texture in the pot was a little too wet.

    If the round lump was the result after further cooking, it does look greasy.

    What is the size of your cup? 250ml? If larger you may have put too much oil

    Can blot off the oil by lining a plate/bowl with a small stack of paper towels and sit the lump on.

    Try with red beans (aduki) next time.


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