Precious Red Bean

Love Tokens

A bean with old and modern values

In addition to having been part of the Chinese diet for centuries, the beautiful red adzuki beans not only look like precious stones, they also have a special place in the hearts of the Chinese, who have used them as love tokens and as a symbol of romantic longing.

Chinese writers have even been moved to pen love poems about the little red beans.



A quince thou givest to me;
I have a gem for thee.
Not as requital I give,
But a token of eternal love.

A quince thou givest to me;
I have a jade for thee.
Not as requital I give,
But a token of eternal love.

A plum thou givest to me;
I have a jewel for thee.
Not as requital I give,
But a token of eternal love.

A famous piece in the <em>Shijing</em> titled Gift states that a romance began after a girl gave fruit to a young man and the man gave her jade and jewels in return. <em>Shijing</em> was traditionally said to have been compiled by Confucius.

The love tokens

The Red Bean, written by Wang Tei during the Tang dynasty at the end of the 1st century AD, is a poem about longing, written by a lover to his far-away love. Elsewhere, in the classic novel The Dream of the Red Mansion (Hong-lou-Meng), Pao-Y, the hero, recites a heart-broken speech for his distant love, Dai-Yu: “Endless tears in my eyes, I toss the love beans as I yearn for you…”

Red beans are conquering the world

Adzuki beans have been cultivated in China for millennia and according to some archaeologists this dates back as far as 3000 BC. Today, this annual vine, Vigna angularis, is widely grown and eaten across Asia in countries including Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Himalayan states of Nepal and Bhutan. More recently they have also been grown in the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina. After China, consumption of adzuki beans is highest in Japan.

The versatile bean

Red is the colour of good luck in China. Whether this is one of the reasons the adzuki bean is so widely consumed is open to speculation. What is sure is that the beans are used in a huge variety of preparations and dishes, both sweet and savoury. These legumes, which are said to be the most yang of the bean family, have a sweet, nutty flavour when cooked.

In China, the adzuki bean is used in red bean soup, salads, red bean porridge and even some types of tea. The beans can even be ground up to make sweet cakes or used as flavouring for ice creams and pastries. They are the basis of red bean paste, which is an ingredient in so many Chinese dishes, and the paste can also be sweet or savoury. Adzuki paste is used for many traditional dishes such as dumplings, zongzi (eaten on the occasion of the Dragon boat races), moon cakes (eaten at the mid-autumn festival) and even for red bean ice.

A huge amount of the adzuki beans grown or imported into Japan is used for making an or azuki-an, a sweet bean paste, a little like peanut butter, which is used for filling snacks (like dorayaki), cakes, dumplings and doughnuts. An is also the main ingredient in traditional wagashi sweets for the tea ceremony and has recently begun to be used in frozen desserts.

In India, dishes using adzuki beans are commonly found in northern and western India, in regions such as Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra, where red beans go under the name of ravaa’n in Punjabi, chori in Gujarathi and Lal Chavali (which means red cowpea) in Marathi.

In these areas, adzuki are usually prepared in savoury dishes and are often sold as street food.

More than just a pretty bean…

It turns out that the shiny little red adzuki beans really are precious because they are packed with valuable essential nutrients too! Like the people of India, the Chinese have long believed that food and drink have an important influence on the health of the body, mind and soul and the value of adzuki beans has long been acknowledged in Chinese medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are the organ associated with fear and adzuki beans are said to benefit the kidneys and to reduce anxiety.

Today’s experts indicate that adzuki beans have many health benefits. In addition to protein, which helps fill us up and builds muscles, they contain fibre, which is good for the intestines. Adzuki beans also have antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and phosphorus, as well as vitamins such as folate, thiamine and riboflavin.

Such a wealth of good things means that adzuki beans fit well into an overall diet designed to keep us healthy. It also shows once more that the ancient Chinese knew a lot about good food and healthy eating!


Red Bean Steam Buns


Total flour weight (100%) 1000g
Flour low protein (UNO) (100%) 1000g
Water ± (55%) 550g
Fresh yeast** (2%) 20g
Salt (1%) 10g
Sugar (4%) 40g
Baking powder (0.5%) 5g
Sapore Madre* (sourdough) (10%) 100g
S500* (bread improver) (0.5%) 5g

Total dough weight 1750g

** If using instant yeast: divide the amount by three

Working method

Mixing spiral 3 min slow, ± 6 min fast
Dough temperature 24°C
Make up Roll out the dough on laminator and give folds. Do this a few times untill the dough is smooth. Roll out to ± 5 mm, spread the Deli Red Bean* and roll up. Cut pieces of ± 50 g.
Final fermentation ± 45 min at 35°C 85% R.H.
Oven temperature 95°C – Steam / Humidity 100%
Baking time ± 14min

* Puratos product

Red Bean Rolls


Total flour weight (100%) 1000g
Flour  (100%) 1000g
Water ± (35%) 350g
Fresh yeast** (6%) 60g
Butter (4%) 40g
Sugar (10%) 100g
Easy Soft’r 10/100* (bread improver) (10%) 100g
Mimetic Incorporation* (speciality fat) (4%) 40g

Total dough weight 1690g

** If using instant yeast: divide the amount by three

Working method

Mixing spiral 3 min slow, ± 7 min fast
Dough temperature 27°C
Make up Roll out to 2.5 mm, width 40 cm. Spread the Deli Red Bean* and roll up. Cut swirls of 2.5 cm. Place two pieces in a long rectangular mould.
Final fermentation 28°C, 85% R.H. for ± 1 hour
Decoration before baking Brush with Sunset Glaze* (glaze)
Oven temperature 220°C
Baking time ± 15min

* Puratos product

Deli Solutions

Deli Red Bean

Deli Red Bean is the ideal product to easily make all Red Bean traditional recipes your clients love so much.

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Photo Credits
Lu Wenjuan/; vetre/; Elena Ermakova/; gontabunta/; Anna_Pustynnikova/; HelloRF Zcool/; Boonchuay1970/;; Christophe Vander Eecken