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red bean buns (dou sha bao, 豆沙包)



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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 120 minutes

Total: 180 minutes

Servings: 14


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Step 1

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).

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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).

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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).

Step 8

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).

Step 9

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.

Step 10

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.

Step 11

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.

Step 12

Leave to rest for 30 minutes or so until they become very light & plump (no need to cover).

Step 13

Bring water to a full boil in a wok/pot. Place the steamer baskets in.

Step 14

Steam over medium-high heat for 10 mins. Serve immediately.

Step 15

Red bean paste can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for two months.

Step 16

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).

Step 17

To reheat the buns: Defrost in the fridge then steam for 3 mins. Alternatively, steam for 6 mins without defrosting.

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