Adzuki Bean Paste/Porridge 红豆沙

Feeling a little nostalgia and decided to make the Chinese sweet soup I grew up with.

This is the ultimately common, yet the most versatile and basic in adzuki bean desserts. It is the easiest to prepare, and it is also being used as a base ingredient in preparing other desserts featured here. It can be eaten hot or cold, depending on the weather. The Chinese believe that it is a natural hydrator during the winter, which gives us that rosy cheek look. The next time you buy adzuki bean and not know what to do with it, this is a good start. And in an Asian country other than Japan, it is more commonly known as Red Bean.


Ingredients:
100g Adzuki bean, soak for 12 hour in the fridge
1 small chunk of brown rock sugar
800ml water
1 tablespoon of orange zest
Coconut milk/evaporated milk/fresh milk as topping, optional

Preparation:
  1. In a deep pan, bring the water to a boil. Rinse and strain the adzuki beans, pour them into the boiling water.
  2. When it starts boiling again, put the lid on with a little gap and reduce heat to medium low. Carry on cooking for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time to avoid sticking to the bottom.
  3. If the liquid reduces too quickly, just add a little water along the way.
  4. When the beans are softened, add the rock sugar and boil it till all sugar is dissolved, then add in the orange zest and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
HOWEVER, I'm going to be a little cheat as I don't fancy watching it in front of a hot stove so I've opted for the rice cooker instead.


The procedures are the same as above, it's just that I don't have to worry about it spilling over (as long as I don't fill it up too full) or sticking to the bottom. I do occasionally stir it and check it every 20 minutes or so. The heat is quite consistent and I can keep adding water and cook it longer for a softer texture of the beans.


Serve hot with a little coconut milk dribbled over it if you have some. I also like having it chilled.

Versatility Note:
  • There is no restriction in terms of how soft the beans should be. It all depends on one's preference. Some people like it all pasty and the soup thick (which requires longer cooking time), whilst some like it in a clear bean-and-soup form whereby they can chew the beans and feel its texture.
  • The length of cooking time also depends on the weather. You would obviously need to simmer it for longer in the winter, and vice versa.
  • A little glutinous rice flour (about 1-2 tablespoons) can be added to thicken the texture of the dessert.

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