Today is my birthday, so I decided to combine my 2 favorite things – matcha & red bean paste – into a dessert. These are my matcha red bean buns. I’ve never made them before today, but I thought I would throw caution to the wind and just see how it goes. (I actually had never made buns in general until I made my banh bao recipe either!) These buns have a matcha exterior with a red bean paste for the filling. I gotta say they turned out absolutely amazing! I love them so much.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
Matcha Dough ingredients
- Matcha powder – This ingredient gives the bun its green color. Make sure to use culinary grade matcha powder. Good quality matcha powder yields a more vibrant green color. I like to use Aiya culinary grade matcha powder. Use cookingtherapy10 to get 10% off your purchase!
- All purpose flour – I would highly recommend using AP flour for the desired result because it has the appropriate amount of protein to give the bun the correct texture.
- Baking powder – Baking powder helps the dough expand when it is steaming.
- Milk – Warm milk helps activate the yeast and gives it that tender texture. Make sure to use whole milk not reduced fat milk.
- Instant yeast – I know it’s really hard to find yeast right now, but it is absolutely essential. Make sure to check your yeast is alive before using. Combine the warm milk with yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar, and let it stand for 10 minutes. It will start to foam if the yeast is alive.
- Neutral oil – Any type of neutral oil should work for this recipe. I used vegetable oil.
- Granulated sugar – White sugar helps give the dough some sweetness. There is also a little bit of sugar in the filling and a teaspoon of sugar to help activate the yeast.
Red bean paste
- Adzuki beans – I like to use red beans mung beans called adzuki beans. They are a bit smaller than the red beans you usually use for cooking savory dishes. Bob’s Red Mill makes their own adzuki beans, so they are a good brand to look out for when you’re at the store.
- Water – The water hydrates the red beans, so they become mushy and soft.
- Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to the red beans. I would highly recommend sticking to white sugar for this recipe.
Making the red bean paste
Soak the adzuki beans overnight. Drain the beans and transfer them to a small sauce pan. Cover them with 2.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours. You are aiming for the beans to get really mushy. Use a blender to blend the beans into a smooth consistency. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and stir. Cook until a thick consistency. It should be similar to the consistency of a very thick bean soup. Remove from the heat and set aside. The paste should thicken as it sits. I also wrote a more in-depth recipe for red bean paste here.
Making the dough for matcha red bean buns
Combine matcha powder, flour, and baking powder and set aside. Add warm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast to a small bowl. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it foams. Then add in your oil and the rest of your sugar and stir. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough seems too wet. After kneading, the dough should slowly bounce back at you when you poke it. Let your dough rise for an hour in a warm place.
Dividing and rolling out the dough
This next part is to divide and roll out the dough.
- Divide the proofed dough into 2 pieces.
- Roll out the dough into a 11 inch log. Make sure the dough is even thickness throughout the length of the dough
- Cut the dough in half to divide it into 2 pieces. Divide each piece into another 2 pieces. Divide those pieces into 2 pieces. You should get 8 pieces from that piece of dough. Repeat the process with the other half. Keep the pieces of dough covered, so they don’t dry out.
- Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a disk that is about 3-4 inches in diameter. The best way to do this is to start in the center and roll outward. Then rotate the disk a little bit and repeat that rolling method. Make sure the center is thicker than the edges. I used a smaller rolling pin this time around and it worked so much better than it did last time when I made banh bao.
Making the matcha red bean buns
Forming the buns
- Use a 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop to scoop the red bean paste into the center of the rolled out dough.
- Hold the dough in the center of one hand and use your other hand to gather the edges together.
- Use your fingers to pinch the dough shut.
- Place the bun, seam side down, on a small piece of parchment paper.
Steaming the buns
- Add 1-2 cups of water to the steamer pot and bring the water to a simmer. Make sure to keep your heat on low to sustain that simmer. Check and adjust as you steam your buns.
- Add the buns to the steamer in batches, ensuring there is 1 inch of space between them. The buns will expand in the steamer and stick to each other if they’re too close together. I did it in batches of 3-4.
- Repeat the process until you’re done!
- Now you’re ready to eat!
Tips on how to make the perfect matcha red bean buns
What if I don’t have a warm space to proof my dough
It’s important to have a warm space to get your dough to rise. I didn’t have a place, so I turned on the oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then turned it off. I then put my dough in the oven with the door closed. Make sure the oven isn’t too hot if you do this.
Sift the matcha powder to prevent clumping
Matcha powder tends to clump up, so sifting the matcha powder helps reduce that. I still got a few clumps in my dough, but that’s okay! This is technique I used in almost all my matcha desserts like in my matcha brownies recipe and my matcha pound cake.
Add oil to the bowl you use to proof your dough
Adding oil to your bowl before proofing is important because it prevents the dough from forming a dry skin.
Storing the matcha red bean buns
You can freeze the buns to eat at a later time. When you’re ready to eat them, pull them out, defrost them, and reheat in the microwave. You can also store them in the freezer pre-steam.
Reheating the buns
The best way to reheat these buns is to cover it with a wet paper towel and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Adding a wet towel helps rehydrate the dough because it starts to dry out as you store it in the fridge.
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Matcha Red Bean Buns
Red Bean Paste
- Soak the adzuki beans in water overnight.
- Drain the beans. Combine the beans and water in a small sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for 2 hours until the beans are mushy. Use a blender to blend the bean mixture until a smooth consistency.
- Add the sugar and continue to heat the beans until a thick mixture forms (1-2 minutes). It should look like a very thick bean soup.
- Set aside the red bean paste. The paste will thicken as it sits.
- Add matcha powder, flour, and baking powder to a bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Heat the milk until warm (100-110 degrees F). Transfer the milk to a small bowl. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and mix. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until it starts to foam. Add vegetable oil and the rest of the sugar. Stir until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and add in your dry ingredients from step 1. Combine with your hands. Once all the ingredients come together, dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough has been kneaded enough if you poke the dough and it slowly springs back at you. Once done, transfer it to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
- Once the dough is finished proofing, divide it into 16 equal pieces.
Make the matcha red bean buns!
- Roll out each piece into a thin circle that is 3-4 inches in diameter. The outer edges should be thinner than the center. Make sure the center is not too thin.
- Add 1 tablespoon of red bean paste to the center of the dough.
- Envelop the filling with the outer edges of the dough. Gather the outer edges of the dough with your fingers and pinch to close. Place the bun, seam side down, onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Prepare your steamer by bringing water to a simmer. Steam your buns for 10 minutes. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between each bun since they will expand.
- What if I don’t have a warm space to proof my dough – It’s important to have a warm space to get your dough to rise. I didn’t have a place, so I turned on the oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then turned it off. I then put my dough in the oven with the door closed. Make sure the oven isn’t too hot if you do this.
- Sift the matcha powder to prevent clumping – Matcha powder tends to clump up, so sifting the matcha powder helps reduce that. I still got a few clumps in my dough, but that’s okay!
- Add oil to the bowl you use to proof your dough – Adding oil to your bowl before proofing is important because it prevents the dough from forming a dry skin.
- Storing the matcha red bean buns – You can freeze the buns to eat at a later time. When you’re ready to eat them, pull them out, defrost them, and reheat in the microwave. You can also store them in the freezer pre-steam.
- Reheating the buns – The best way to reheat these buns is to cover it with a wet paper towel and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Adding a wet towel helps rehydrate the dough because it starts to dry out as you store it in the fridge.