white bean

Sweet bean paste

Sweet bean paste is a food ingredient used in several Asian cuisines. Within Chinese cuisine, it is primarily used as a filling for sweet desserts and Chinese pastry.


The beans are usually boiled without sugar, mashed, and diluted into a slurry. The slurry is then strained through a sieve to remove the bean skins. The resulting sandy liquid is then filtered and squeezed dry using cheesecloth, and then finally sweetened. Oil in the form of either vegetable oil or lard is usually added to the relatively dry paste to improve its texture and mouthfeel.

Oiled sweet bean paste is mainly found as fillings for Chinese pastries, while un-oiled sweet bean pastes can be used to make tong sui. Japanese sweets pastries use primarily un-oiled sweet bean pastes.

Although they are called "sweet beans" by many non English natives in Asia. This is one of the many examples of incorrect English utilized by many people in Asian Countries, especially Japan. As the beans are not actually sweet, but rather, they have been sweetened with sugar, they are in fact "sweetened beans".


There are several types of sweet bean paste:


There are a number of other pastes used in Chinese cuisine, primarily as fillings for dessert items. Although not made from beans, they share similar usage and are equally as popular. They are very similar in flavor and texture to sweet bean paste. These include:


  • Hsiung, Deh-Ta (2000). The Chinese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with Over 200 Easy and Authentic Recipes. Foreword by Ken Hom. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312246994. ISBN 978-0312246990.

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