Soft, fluffy steamed buns filled with sweet, creamy red bean paste, Chinese red bean buns taste amazing when made from scratch. A tutorial video is included.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Bao, Buns, Vegetarian
Author: Wei Guo
For the filling
150gadzuki beans (aka red beans), or 350g canned onessee note 1
1tablespoondark brown sugar
80gbuttersee note 2 for substitute
For the dough
350gall-purpose flour, or bao flour/cake floursee note 3
2teaspooninstant dry yeastsee note 4
1½tablespoonneutral cooking oil
180glukewarm water, adjust slightly if necessarysee note 5
Cook the beans (skip if using canned beans)
Soak adzuki beans in water overnight. Drain then put into a pot. Pour in 500ml of water. Bring it to a boil then leave to simmer for about 90 mins until cooked (You may use a pressure cooker/instant pot to reduce the cooking time).
Make the paste
Put drained beans into a blender or food processor (see note 6 for handmade option). Add white sugar, dark brown sugar and butter (or coconut oil). Blend on high speed into a fine paste. You may need to add a little water to make blending easier. However, only add as little as necessary.
Transfer the soft paste into a non-stick pan. Cook over medium-high heat while stirring and flipping constantly to avoid burning. Once the paste becomes dark and holds in shape, transfer out to cool (Watch the video below to see the desired consistency).
Prepare the dough
IF USING HANDS: Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, yeast and oil in a bowl. Add water gradually while mixing with a pair of chopsticks/spatula. Combine with your hands to form a rough dough. Rest (covered) for 10 mins then knead again until very smooth.
IF USING A STAND MIXER: Add all the ingredients for the dough into the mixing bowl. Knead on low speed for about 8 mins until a smooth dough forms.
Roll the wrappers
Roll the dough into a long rope then divide into 14 equal parts. Work on one piece at a time and make sure you cover the rest to prevent them from drying out.
With a rolling pin, flatten one piece into a disc-like wrapper, about 10cm in diameter (Dust with flour if necessary). Ideally, it should be thinner on the edge & thicker in the middle (See the rolling technique in the video below).
Assemble the buns
Place a spoonful of the cooled red bean paste (about 30g) in the middle of a wrapper. Seal the bun completely using whatever method that you feel most comfortable with (Watch the video below for reference).
Put the bun on the work surface with the sealed side facing down. Rotate the bun between your hands to form a slightly raised shape.
OPTIONAL STEP: If you wish to make it festive, mark a red dot (or other pattern) on top of the bun with a little red food colouring.
Repeat to finish all the wrappers and filling. Then place the buns into steamer baskets lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking (Alternatively, brush a thin layer of oil if using a metal/plastic steamer). Make sure you leave ample space between each bun.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes or so until they become very light & plump (no need to cover).
Steam the buns
Bring water to a full boil in a wok/pot. Place the steamer baskets in.
Steam over medium-high heat for 10 mins. Serve immediately.
Store and reheat
Red bean paste can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for two months.
Store leftover buns in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for two months (It’s not recommended to refrigerate or freeze uncooked buns).
To reheat the buns: Defrost in the fridge then steam for 3 mins. Alternatively, steam for 6 mins without defrosting.
1. If time permits, I highly recommend you make your own red bean paste instead of buying a shop-bought version. You can find adzuki beans (aka red beans, Hong Dou/红豆) in Chinese/Asian shops or whole food stores. If available, use canned ready-to-use adzuki beans to skip the cooking procedure.2. To make the paste vegan friendly, you may replace butter with coconut oil. In this case, reduce its quantity by half as the coconut flavour can be a little overpowering.3. All purpose flour (plain flour) works perfectly for this recipe. For an extra fluffy texture, use special bao flour (available in Chinese shops) or cake flour which has a lower gluten level.4. Instant dry yeast can be mixed directly with flour. If using active dry yeast, which has larger granules, dissolve it in water first then mix with other ingredients.5. The flour-water ratio may vary slightly depending on the brand of your flour. Please feel free to adjust. The dough should be soft but not at all sticky.6. If you don't have a blender or food processor, you can make rustic, chunky red bean paste manually following my method introduced in the post "Homemade Red Bean Paste, Two Ways".
Serving: 1bun | Calories: 185kcal
Red Bean Buns (Dou Sha Bao, 豆沙包) by Red House Spice