Sweet bean paste is an essential ingredient in many Asian treats, from pastries to buns. So, today we'll show you how to make this delicious bean filling from scratch using yellow mung beans. It's super easy!
Bean paste is like sweet puree made from cooked beans, sugar, oil, and salt. It's not as loose as a mash but rather dense and pliable. It tastes sweet and nutty and has a wonderful creamy texture.
Asian sweet bean fillings can be made with different types of beans. For example, red adzuki beans are a classic in Japan, while mung beans are super popular in China, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Sweet bean paste prepared from mung beans can come in two varieties, depending on the type of mung beans you start with.
It's brownish if you use whole green mung beans or light yellow if you use husked split mung beans.
Our recipe uses split mung beans to make a golden bean paste, but you can also prepare it with the green ones if you like!
Yellow mung beans are mung beans whose outer green shell has been removed, and inner yellow flesh has been split. Tiny, light, and delicate, split mung beans are also known as yellow mung dal or moong dal.
To prepare the paste, you have to simmer the beans until tender, mash them, and then cook them in a skillet until the bean mash turns into a dense paste.
Adding oil to the bean paste helps it make it creamy and cohesive, while sugar makes it sweet!
But if you want to cut down on the added sugar and make the bean paste healthier, we'll give you the option to use erythritol instead of sugar.
Erythritol is a natural and safe sweetener we use all the time in our sugar-free recipes. It looks and tastes like sugar but has no calories, and you can mindlessly swap it in a 1:1 ratio in almost every recipe. Give it a go!
Once ready, you can use this yellow bean paste as a filling for many wonderful Asian sweet treats. The default ingredients yield two generous jars, so you'll have plenty!
This flavourful and creamy bean filling is also amazing in steamed buns, baked buns, and sesame puffed balls. With so many recipe ideas waiting for you, it's time to get started!
- Yellow Split Mung Beans (mung dal)
- Vegetable Oil
- Sugar-Free Erythritol Sweetener (or sugar)
To prepare the paste, make sure you're using dried yellow split mung beans, also called mung dal or moong dal.
They are made from husked and split whole green mung beans.
Rinse the beans a few times until the water runs clear.
Then, add them to a bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Alternatively, you can soak them in hot water for 2 hours.
The split mung beans will expand and become tender enough that you can easily break them with your fingernails.
Drain and discard the soaking water.
Transfer the soaked yellow mung beans to a pot and cover them with water.
Make sure the water is two fingers worth above the level of the beans, as they will expand during cooking.
Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil.
Once boiling, simmer the beans for about 30-35 minutes over medium-low heat.
If you see any foam coming up to the surface, skim it off with a spoon.
The beans should be cooked through: soft, creamy, and easy to mash.
Now, drain the cooking water using a fine mesh colander or sieve.
Try to squeeze out as much water as you can, pressing the beans with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Then, blend the yellow mung beans into a creamy mash using a food processor or a stick blender.
Next, transfer the pureed mung beans to a large, non-stick skillet.
Add oil, salt, and sugar-free sweetener erythritol.
You can swap granulated erythritol with the same amount of caster sugar.
Mix well with a spatula and set the heat to medium.
Cook the yellow bean mash for 15-20 minutes to dry it up.
Taste the mash and add more sugar or erythritol if you'd like it sweeter.
Make sure you stir the mixture continuously while it cooks so it won't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
At first, the bean puree will be quite liquid and loose: but as you cook it, it will become drier, denser, and more cohesive, forming a dough-like paste.
Keep in mind the yellow bean paste will get harder once it has cooled down.
To check if it's ready, take a spoonful of mung bean paste and let it cool down quickly in the fridge: it should feel a bit like cookie dough — dry and thick enough that you can easily shape it into a ball.
Once ready, transfer the sweet mung bean paste to a clean bowl or jar, cover it with a lid or cling film and let it cool down completely.
If the paste feels too dry and grainy once cooled, you can stir in a little oil to make it creamier.
Your homemade yellow mung bean paste is ready!
Use it as a delicious filling for Filipino munggo hopias, Chinese mooncakes, sesame balls or steamed buns.
You can store the sweet mung bean paste in the fridge for 2-3 weeks or freeze it for 4 months.