Almonds, Baking, Bread, Chinese, Dessert, Fusion, Sweets

Red Bean-Cardamom Buns

Red Bean-Cardamom Buns. Sweet bread stuffed with Red bean paste. |foodfashionparty| #chinesedessert

What’s your favorite dessert?

I couldn’t pick just one.  It’s coffee cake one day, falooda another, or a simple gulab jamun, which I always love.

While San Francisco is famous for it’s Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and earthquakes, it’s also very famous for its restaurants. There are no words to describe the popular sourdough of San Francisco, it’s amazing. The food truck festival is a very popular one.  The Ghirardelli ice cream is just to die for. My mouth just waters with the memory of the English muffins from Model bakery. Ahhh, so good. Little Italy has some beautifully created dishes as well. While burritos are considered sacred here,  Chinese food is like an institution. We have some very very popular chefs who have great restaurants, and I’ve been to a lot of them.  It is a food heaven filled with culture and beauty.

Sometimes I think I go to restaurants just to have desserts. I order my desserts along with the food.  Like the red bean steamed buns made with sticky rice, so so good.  I eat it even before our food comes out.  One of my favorites. So, of course, I wanted to make it at home as soon as I tried it for the first time.

Red Bean-Cardamom Buns. Sweet bread stuffed with Red bean paste. |foodfashionparty| #chinesedessert

Red bean paste is very similar to to something we make in India, just that it’s made with channa/bengal gram daal. We stuff it in a unleavened dough and make parathas(puran poli, poli, obbatu, obbat). After researching a bit, I did get a bit overwhelmed by the process of making the sticky rice paste for the outer coating. The next best thing was stuffing it in bread, which is definitely a lot easier.

This is an inspired by Aeri’s kitchen on you tube.  The bread dough I used for this recipe is buttery, sweet, and delightful. Like many other types of bread dough, this has to be kneaded a bit to get it to a smooth consistency and elasticity.  The stand mixer is your best friend for this recipe.

Flavor the red bean with any spice you like and they are simply amazing.

Inspired by a Chinese dessert which is  also called Anpan, I believe.  I am happy to be sharing this on CHINESE NEW YEAR.

Happy Chinese NEW YEAR to everyone celebrating today.



Red Bean-Cardamom Buns. Sweet bread stuffed with Red bean paste. |foodfashionparty| #chinesedessert

5.0 from 1 reviews
Red Bean - Cardamom Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These soft and buttery buns are sweet and a great way to enjoy for breakfast or snack.
Recipe type: Sweet, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 8- 12
  • 3½ Cups All-Purpose Flour( or half all purpose and ½ whole wheat)
  • 2 Cups Sweetened Red Bean Paste(store bought or made at home, see notes to make at home)
  • ⅔ Cup Lukewarm Water
  • ⅔ Cup Lukewarm Milk
  • ¼ Cup white sugar
  • ¼ Cup Butter, Melted
  • 2 tsp Fast Active Dry Yeast
  • 1½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ½ cup almond and walnut powder(optional)
  • Some Melted Butter (for Brushing)
  • Some Black Sesame Seeds (to Garnish)
  1. Mix the luke warm water, milk and yeast with a tbsp of sugar and let it sit to bubble up.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the all purpose flour, salt and rest of the sugar. Add the yeast mixture and mix the dough. Add the melted butter and start kneading it. If you have a stand mixer, put it on medium for 8-10 minutes to knead well. It should be a smooth dough. If you plan on mixing it by hand, knead it for about 20 minutes for a smooth and soft dough. Put the dough in a oiled bowl and cover, let it rise for 1 hr 30 minutes or until tripled in volume.
  3. The red bean paste has to be thick. If you use store bought red bean paste, put it in a non stick pan and let it dry out while stirring continuously.( If it is not liquidy and if you can make a ball out of it without it been too sticky, skip the step of drying it out.) Turn off the heat when it dries up and add the cardamom and nut mixture, mix well and set aside.
  4. Once the dough has risen, make equal portions. Stretch a bit, to about 5 inches and keep a medium icecream scoop of the red bean stuffing. Close it and tap and pat it flat. You can leave it like this or cut like a flower and set it on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake it in a 400 degree preheated oven. It can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your bread buns. Once you take it out, brush it with some melted butter and let it cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Let cool and serve.
Soak the red beans overnight. Next day, you can cook in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water or you can cook in a pan with lot of water to cover the beans and more. Cook until it get mushed completely. Drain the water thoroughly. Add 1 cup of sugar for 2 cups of beans. Mix well and dry the mixture a little bit. Grind the mixture in a food processor or run it through a thick sieve for a smooth paste.

Red Bean-Cardamom Buns. Sweet bread stuffed with Red bean paste. |foodfashionparty| #chinesedessert

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  • Reply Angie@Angie's Recipes February 8, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Had something similar years ago….now you have me crave some red bean paste. They look amazingly delicious!

  • Reply Rakhee@boxofspice February 8, 2016 at 5:16 am

    These look absolutely gorgeous Asha. Never ever tried anything like it!. Would love to try them out. <3

  • Reply Uma Raghuraman February 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I love the idea of red bean paste stuffing. Interesting to know about the restaurants of San Francisco. The buns are looking attractive and I’m sure they would have tasted delicious !!! Going to make this soon!

  • Reply Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary February 8, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Oh my gawsh, no way can I pick just one favorite dessert.. although all the ones you named are delicious! 😉 San Fran has been on my list of places to visit and I have heard the food scene is unbelievable. I’m jealous. Anyways, LOVE these buns, Asha!! These are so beautiful and they sound seriously scrumptious! Red bean paste plus cardamom all wrapped in a warm bun? I’ll take at least 2 dozen please. 😉 SO YUM! Cheers, my dear! xo

  • Reply Shikha @ Shikha la mode February 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

    These are gorgeous! I love Chinese desserts, especially red bean.

  • Reply Manali @ CookWithManali February 8, 2016 at 9:47 am

    how beautiful are these buns Asha, love them! And I can’t pick up a favorite dessert, god that’s so difficult!

  • Reply marcie February 8, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I’ve never had a red bean bun, and I feel that I’m really missing out! These are so gorgeous — beautiful job!

  • Reply Traci | Vanilla And Bean February 8, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I look forward to returning to SF some day to explore it more in depth. A few days is just not enough time… the few restaurants I visited were quite inspiring! Asha… you had me at Buns! Happy Chinese NY to you too my dear! I’ve never had red bean buns, but oh my they are shaped so beautifully and sound just scrumptious! Thank you for this!

  • Reply rebecca | DisplacedHousewife February 8, 2016 at 10:23 am

    These look super nummy!! Whenever I’m in SF I eat non-stop…it’s the best dining ever.

    Happy Chinese New Year!! xoxo

  • Reply Sugar et al. February 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    These are so beautiful! Never had them before but I like red bean sweets. SF is in my list of places to visit for a long time….hopefully in the future! At least to say hello and give you a hug, I’ll come!

  • Reply Liren February 8, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Those sticky rice filled red bean sweets are some of my favorite, too, and I do the same when it come to spying and ordering from the dessert menu as soon as I sit down! I love how you made little buns with these, and the flower shape is exquisite!

  • Reply Monica February 9, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I am hooked on anything filled with red bean paste…and yeast bread! Be still my heart…I would love one of these right now! You did a great job with this. And I love being inspired by restaurants and learning to make a favorite at home. Such a great feeling of accomplishment, and so much pleasure for the tummy. ; )

  • Reply Denise Browning@From Brazil To You February 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    How interesting! I’d love to try these golden buns…

  • Reply Nina Olsson February 9, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I love Cardamom buns, and these are extra beautiful!

  • Reply John/Kitchen Riffs February 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

    San Fransisco is definitely one of the best eating towns in the world. So many restaurants, and all of them seem to be good. Anyway, love the look — and shape — of these. Really pretty. And red bean paste is good stuff, so I know they taste wonderful.

  • Reply Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie February 10, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    What a beautiful dessert, Asha. San Francisco has been on my “places to visit” list for a while…you talking about it has me yearning to go, especially because of all the yummy eats! I couldn’t pick a favorite dessert, or anything for that matter, being the indecisive girl that I am and all. Although I love mostly pastries, cake type desserts, or anything with bread, so these definitely fit the bill. Red bean paste is something I see a lot of in Asian desserts, do you know if it’s the same thing?

  • Reply Yasmin February 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I totally agree with you. Dessert is my favorite part of eating out at a restaurant. I’m often the only one who wants to get something because I have a raging sweet tooth. So I try to keep some chocolate in my purse to satisfy me instead of indulging in the extra calories at the end of the night. These buns look delicious. I love a good pastry, especially tearing it apart and enjoying the flaky goodness.

    xx Yasmin

  • Reply Sabrina February 13, 2016 at 4:35 am

    These buns look delicious!

  • Reply Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen February 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Stunningly beautiful yeasted buns, Ash! Meanwhile, I’m so jealous about all the stellar restaurants and eateries close to you in San Fran. Wish I could come into town and stay a spell…like a month or two to take it all in! Thanks ever so much for sharing and have a great week ahead! xo

  • Reply Little Cooking Tips March 3, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    We both love cardamom and are always looking for new ways to use it in our kitchen. So this recipe is definitely a winner!:) The only thing is, we have to find some red bean paste to speed up the process, as making it from scratch adds a lot of time:/ We’ll probably end up ordering it online, since it’s not sold in Greece.
    Life in S. Francisco sounds amazing for a foodie! We’d LOVE to visit it sometime, even though it’s so far from here. It’d be a great experience.
    Thank you for another delicious recipe dear Ash! Much appreciated!

  • Reply Susana March 11, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Dear Asha I knew I like these when you posted them on Instagram and now I love them even more, I think this recipe will be a good project once my kitchen is ready!

    • Reply Asha Shivakumar March 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Thanks so much my dear Susana for stopping by to comment. You are so kind. You are cooking up a storm now, I can’t wait to see your magic once your kitchen is done. All the best darling.

  • Reply Shashi @ RunninSrilankan March 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Asha – I go to restaurants and order dessert with my food too – sometimes I only order dessert! I wish these buns were available here as they are not only gorgeous but sound absolutely delightful!

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