Red bean paste buns (dou sha bao in Mandarin) is one of the most popular Chinese desserts. Besides, they either steam or bake red bean paste buns. Usually, they stuff Chinese buns or baozi with an assortment of either savoury or sweet fillings. Red bean paste or adzuki beans paste is a dark red sweet bean paste. Likewise, they use red bean paste in many Chinese desserts and pastries. They also widely use this paste in Japanese and Korean cuisines. Moreover, they cook red bean paste by boiling adzuki beans until soft. Then mashed and sweetened with sugar or honey. Then they either softly mashed these cooked adzuki beans or processed it into a smooth paste. Sometimes, they add whole boiled soft beans back to the smooth bean paste for additional texture.
Gluten Free Red Bean Paste Buns (Dou Sha Bao)
For my gluten free red bean paste buns recipe, I am using gluten free white bread flour. Infused with mandarin orange juice and zest. I filled these gluten free buns with boiled and lightly mashed red bean paste sweetened with agave syrup. This gluten free red bean paste buns recipe is not only gluten free. But also vegan, dairy free, nut free, egg free and refined sugar free.
Check out my other gluten free buns (baozi) recipes:
- Chinese Steamed Custard Buns;
- Chinese Steamed Barbeque Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao); and
- Vegan Pandan Kaya Buns (Coconut Jam Buns).
Types of Chinese Red Bean Paste Desserts and Pastries
Other popular Chinese desserts and pastries using red bean paste include red bean soup (hong dou sha tang). A type of thick sweet soup (tong sui in Cantonese). Glutinous rice balls filled with red bean paste in ginger syrup (tang yuan). Steamed or boiled glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves (zong zi). Mooncakes (ye bing), a thin dough baked pastry filled with red bean paste normally eaten during the Mid Autumn Festival. Fried glutinous rice balls (jian dui) filled with red bean pastes. Red bean cake (hong dou gao) and red bean pancakes. Check out my gluten free recipe for Creamy Coconut Red Bean with Black Rice soup. They also widely use red bean paste as a condiment in ice kacang (Malaysian shaved ice dessert). As well as in making ice cream and popsicles in Asia.
Nutritional Values of Adzuki Beans
The adzuki beans (scientific name: Vigna angularis) are legumes that were first cultivated in East Asia. As well as the Himalayan province many thousands of years ago. In China and Korea, they cultivated adzuki beans as far back as 1000 BC. Then they introduced adzuki beans to Japan about one thousand years ago. Adzuki beans are very high in nutrients, low in calories, high in dietary fibre and antioxidants. But also rich in protein, making them a perfect protein substitute for vegetarians or vegans. Adzuki beans are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin B3 (Niacin). Plus vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B9 (folate).
Health Benefits of Adzuki Beans
On the whole, health benefits of adzuki beans may include:
- Support a healthy digestive system;
- Aid in weight management;
- Reduce bad cholesterol in the body;
- Decrease risk of cardiovascular diseases;
- Build muscle mass;
- Maintain normal blood sugar level;
- Assist the body to fight against free radicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; and
- Maintenance of bone and teeth health.
- Some vegan butter for greasing the muffin pans
For the dough:
For the Mandarin Orange Juice (250ml):
- 1½ teaspoon grated mandarin orange zest or substitute with orange zest
- 4 medium mandarin oranges choose mandarin oranges with thicker and firmer skin (or substitute with oranges)
For the mandarin juice:
- Place peeled and seeded mandarin oranges into a Nutribullet or food processor and pulverise until you get a smooth juice. Strain through a fine sieve, using a tablespoon to press on the mandarin oranges pulp to release more juice. Add the mandarin orange zest to the juice and set aside. You need 250ml of mandarin orange juice.
For the Red Bean Paste filling:
- Pour the soaked overnight red beans and water into a medium pot. Add a further 2 cups (250ml) water and bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until red beans are very soft. Stirring occasionally.
- Then add the mandarin orange zest, extra virgin olive oil and agave syrup into the pot together with the corn starch mixture. The paste will thicken almost immediately once the corn starch mixture is added. Stirring frequently to avoid sticking and burning at the bottom. Cook on low heat for around 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the hot stove and lightly mash the red bean paste with a potato masher. Then let the red bean paste cool down. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. The paste will thicken further as it cools.
For preparing the dough:
- Warm the rice milk in a small pot for around 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients, combine and mix well.
- In an electric mixer mixing bowl, add in all the dry ingredients.
- Attach the mixing bowl to an electric mixer and then attach the dough hook. Using low speed, mix the dough for about 30 seconds or until ingredients are well combined.
- Continue on low speed and gradually pour the warm rice milk mixture into the well in the large bowl for about 2 minutes.
- Then slowly add in the mandarin orange juice with mandarin orange zest added prepared in step 1 and continue to mix on low setting for another 2 minutes.
- Stop mixing and then use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
- Mix on medium setting for another 5 minutes or until dough is well combined.
For stuffing the dough:
- Lightly grease all the muffin cups with some vegan butter.
- Scoop and place small amount of wet dough into the bottom of each cup of the muffin pan (about 1cm thick).
- Then add 1½ tablespoons of red bean paste into the centre of each muffin cup, gently flatten the paste slightly.
- Fill each muffin cup with the rest of wet dough until nearly the edge.
- Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes.
For cooking the bun:
- Preheat fan-forced oven to 190C or 375F. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Remove and place the cooked buns on a cooling rack.
- Reheat by covering the buns with aluminum paper and bake in the oven for 5 minutes or in microwave for 45 seconds or until buns are soft.