Cooking raw red/Azuki beans to soft usually needs a long heating process. However, with the use of a thermal cooker, the stove heating time can be cut down substantially.
This round, I incorporated the freezing technique I learned from a TV culinary program. It helped to shorten the cooking time slightly. The soaked red beans were frozen overnight, and thawed before cooking. When water freezes, it expands in size. Thus, the frozen ice in the beans cracked the internal structure of the bean. This in turns, helps to break down the bean faster during cooking.
With the use of an handheld blender, a smoother texture red bean paste can be achieved faster and easier ;)
Yield: about 280g sweetened red beans
1.5 L thermal cooker,
100g organic red beans 有机红豆
1 blade pandan leaf (optional) 香兰叶
2 tbsp coconut/vegetable oil 椰子/植物油
50g raw sugar 黄砂糖
20g rock sugar 黄冰糖
1. Rinse and soak red beans with about 2cm deep of boiling water for about 2 hours, or till some of the beans swell and break the skin.
2. Drain away the water and cover with cling wrap. Keep the beans in the freezer to freeze the beans overnight.
3. Thaw the beans before cooking.
Pour the beans into the inner pot of the thermal cooker. Add water to about 5cm above the beans.
Add a blade of pandan leaf.
Cover and bring to a lboil for about 10-15 minutes.
4. Transfer the inner pot to the outer thermal cooker and cover with a lid quickly to prevent heat loss to the surroundings.
Let the red beans self-cook in the thermal cooker for about 1 hour.
5. After 1 hour, open the lid and try crushing one to two beans with your fingers. If the beans are not soft enough, heat the inner pot over the stove to another boil. Cover and return the inner pot to the outer pot, and let it stays for about 30 to 60 minutes.
6. After the second simmering, try crushing the beans again. If the beans are soft, then pour about 80% of the red beans soup into a bowl, leaving behind about 50 to 80 ml of soup in the pot.
You can keep the red bean soup collected for a "total red bean bun" recipe.
7. In a separate pot, heat up 2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the cooked red beans from (6), add sugar, and rock sugar.
Stir in medium low heat till all sugar has melted and some water has evaporated.
You can stop here if you wish to prepare some sweetened red beans instead of paste.
8. Use an handheld blender to grind the red beans into a smooth paste.
Try not to dry up too much of the liquid, after you have blended the beans, the bean paste will absorb more liquid. If the bean paste is too dry, add some of the red bean soup which you have saved in step (6) to adjust.
9. Transfer the red bean paste to a clean container. Allow to cool down before storing in the fridge :)