Asian Ingredients: Red Beans

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For us Brazilians, red beans need no introduction. What many do not know is that it is also widely used in Asian cuisine, only in sweet recipes.
Red beans (also called Azuki) are one of the most important ingredients in Asian confectionery. It is rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein and iron. Because it tastes softer and sweeter than other beans, it is widely used in sweet recipes. For us, who like sweeter sweets, the addition of this ingredient may seem strange to the palate. But why not give new flavors a try?
To be incorporated into sweet recipes, it is recommended to make a paste with red beans. The method is very simple: just cook it in water, then beat it in a processor. Then, just take this paste over low heat with butter and sugar, stirring constantly, until it acquires the consistency of brigadeiro. The amount of sugar is up to you. If you want a very smooth paste, I recommend passing the baked beans through a sieve (to remove all their peel) before placing it in the processor.
You can use a measure of approximately 230g of azuki beans to 3 cups of water. The amount of butter for this amount is around two tablespoons. Then, 2 cups of sugar and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor. It’s worth testing to see if you like it that way or prefer less candy ?
Pasta made, it’s time to use your imagination. The red bean paste goes well with all sweet recipes, and can be incorporated into ice cream, cakes, breads, brownies, macarons, cupcakes. My favorite sweet with beans is the Tayaki, which is nothing more than a crepe batter, baked in the shape of a fish and stuffed with red bean paste, easily found at street fairs in Asian neighborhoods.
red-bean-azuki-paste-sweet-chinasichuanfood-ickfdphoto: Chinasichuanfood
tayaki-sweet-with-beans-azuki-liveblogphoto: Livedoor
macaron-azuki-matcha-loveandlemon-ickfdphoto: Love and Lemons / cover photo: Jimy40 (flickr)
Red beans are found in any supermarket. You can also find the ready-made pasta in Asian supermarkets.
The bean paste must be kept in the refrigerator, in a closed container. It is valid for 2 weeks.

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