Learn how to make smooth and shiny sweet red bean paste (dou sha) or known as Anko in Japan that you can use as filling for many Asian pastries, Chinese mooncakes, bread, baked buns, steamed buns, or just eat by spoonfuls if you wish. Vegan and gluten-free.
Soak the bean for at least 8 hours. I soaked mine overnight and then discard the water
Prepare a big pot and add water, about 2-inches above the beans. Boil the beans until they are soft or cracked open in most cases, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may need to top off with some water along the way. Proceed to "Blending the paste"
Instant Pot method:
Place the beans in the insert of the instant pot. Add water about 1 inch above the beans. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release handle to seal. Press pressure cooker and set timer to 45 minutes if you did not soak the beans. If you soak the beans, set the timer to 20 minutes
When the timer is up, wait for 10 minutes and then release pressure. Discard the water. The beans can be easily mashed with your fingers when you squeeze it. Proceed to "Blending the paste"
Blending the paste:
Drain off the water and pour the beans into a food processor or a blender or use an immersion blender. It may be hard to blend it with a blender without enough liquid, so you can add a bit to get it going if necessary. Try not to add too much because the more you add, the longer you have to cook off the water later
Alternatively, if you don't have a blender or a food processor, you can also mash the cooked beans through a strainer to make them smooth and paste-like consistency. It's a lot of work, but it's doable. You can also use a potato masher, which will make the job a bit easier for you
Cooking the paste:
Spread the paste on a non-stick skillet with a rubber spatula or wooden spatula and add the sugar, and salt. The paste will seem a bit "runny" at first when the sugar melts, 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 and the paste can hold its shape but still moist and spreadable. This is perfect consistency if you are going to use the paste as filling in bread, steamed buns, or other dessert, etc
If you plan to make the red bean paste for mooncakes, you want to add oil. Add the oil and continue to stir over medium-low heat using a spatula until the oil are absorbed by the beans, leave the side of the pot and shiny and smooth. The consistency for this paste should be firmer and can hold its shape. It can take about 40-45 minutes of total cooking time
Let it cool off before filling if you are using it
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
You can omit the oil if you are using the red bean paste as a filling for steamed buns, bread, or baked buns. I won't recommend omitting the oil if you are using this as a filling for mooncakes or other pastries.