Sweet red bean paste (Anko)

Homemade Dou Sha Filling (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

Course: Condiment, Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 600 gr
Author: Marvellina
Dried Asian red beans are soaked and then cooked until soft and sweetened with sugar and processed into a paste. It is called dou sha in Chinese and Anko in Japanese. Instant Pot recipe is included
Print Recipe


  • 300 gr Red beans / Azuki beans (not kidney beans)
  • 200 gr Sugar more if you want it sweeter
  • 20 gr butter
  • 1000 ml Water for boiling the beans


Stove-top method:

  • Soak the bean for at least 8 hours. I soaked mine overnight and then discard the water
  • Prepare a big pot and add water. Boil the beans until they are soft or cracked open in most cases, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You may need to top off with some water along the way. Proceed to "Sweeten and Cooking off the water"

Instant Pot method:

  • You don't need to soak the beans. Place the beans in the insert of instant pot. Add water. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release handle to seal. Press pressure cooker and set timer to 30 minutes
  • When the timer is up, wait for 10 minutes and then release pressure. The beans should be breaking apart and soft. Proceed to "Sweeten and Cooking off the water"

Sweeten and Cooking off the water:

  • Drain off the water and pour the beans into your blender or use an immersion blender and puree until they become a paste consistency. Don't worry about discarding the shells of the beans, this will all be blended 
  • Spread the paste on a non-stick skillet with a rubber spatula or wooden spatula and add the sugar and butter. The sugar and butter will melt and the paste will seem a bit "runny" at first but continue to cook it on medium-high heat until the color darkens and the paste is thickened again and most of the water has cooked off. If you are going to use this for steamed buns, definitely cook it as dry as possible, but not burnt
  • Let them cool off before filling if you are using this for pastry. They will thicken further after they cool down


  • You can portion them out into 2-3 servings in a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You may also freeze them and they can keep for 3 months. Just thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use them. No recooking required