Dried Red Adzuki Beans (Hong Dou): About, Benefits & Uses

Dried Red Adzuki Beans (Hong Dou): About, Benefits & Uses

Dried Red Adzuki Beans (红豆), also known as Hong Dou, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries as a powerful health-boosting remedy.

Possessing a bright red complexion, this herb is packed with a wide range of properties which make it a great option for wellbeing goals. 

So, without further ado here's an overview of Dried Red Adzuki Beans and how they could be a great addition to your everyday routine...

What are Dried Red Adzuki Beans?

Dried Red Adzuki Beans are a great source of essential nutrients (fibre, protein, manganese), vitamins and minerals.

They are a tiny, reddish-brown bean with a cream coloured seam and a sweet nutty flavour, predominantly used in Asian cuisine (for example, as a dim sum filling)

Originating from Beijing and Tianjin Han and being native to Asia, this herb is most commonly consumed in China, Japan and other Asian territories. Red Adzuki Beans are featured in a traditional Chinese recipe: Zong Zi which is created each year in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dried Red Adzuki Beans possess a neutral, thermal nature with a sweet and sour flavour which targets the small intestine and kidney channels to clear heat and detox the body

What are the potential health benefits?

Being traditional used to treat a variety of ailments, consuming this herb may potentially assist with the following:

  • Benefit weight loss
  • Aid digestion and helping the body's detoxification process
  • Growth and repair of body cells
  • Boost bone health
  • Lower or manage blood sugar levels 
  • Maintain a healthy heart
  • Lower the chances of developing atherosclerosis 
  • Preventing birth defects

In addition, this herb is suitable for vegans and gluten-free.  

How can I use Dried Red Adzuki Beans?

As eagerly anticipated, here are some fantastic fast ways to use Dried Red Adzuki Beans in your everyday routine...

Red Bean Buns

With Hong Dou possessing a vibrant sweet and sour taste, creating a small bite of heaven with this herb is a fantastic dessert option. 

Here's how you create these little gems... 

What You'll Need (6 servings)

Method - Making the Bean Paste

  1. Place the beans in a pressure cooker/pan and cover with water
  2. Simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes to re-hydrate
  3. Drain the beans once re-hydrated and put to one side
  4. After this time has elapsed, release the water and heat the butter in a wok, then add the drained cooked beans together 
  5. Mash the beans with the back of a spoon and continue to stir until mixed thoroughly 
  6. Add in the sugar, stirring evenly throughout to make a thick paste. Once this has thickened, turn off the wok
  7. Let the bean paste cool, then roll the paste into small balls (the size of a walnut)

Method - Making the Dough

  1. Place the flour into a mixing bowl, then add the yeast and baking powder into the mix
  2. Pour in the milk/water and stir until the dough starts to form
  3. Knead the dough by hand for up to 30 minutes

Method - Making the Red Bean Buns

  1. Divide the dough into small paste balls, rolling these out big enough to stuff with the red bean paste filling
  2. Place the dough flat in your hand, placing a bean paste ball on top while enclosing the dough around it
  3. Bond the two together, but ensure you don't distort the rounded shape
  4. Place the bean paste buns (sealed side down) on the bottom of the steamer, then cover the lid and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes, allowing the buns to puff up in size
  5. Once they have risen, steam them for a further 15-20 minutes on a slightly higher temperature setting
  6. Remove from heat after this time and let them stand for 1 minute
  7. Serve and enjoy! 

Red Bean Congee 

A great, hearty breakfast option. If you're one who prefers the sweeter things in life, this is going to be your go-to option. Making this dish is going to require a few extra ingredients, but I promise you it’ll be well worth the work! 

Here's how you to start your day the right way... 

What You'll Need (4 servings)


  1. Wash and drain the adzuki beans and lotus seeds
  2. Bring 8 cups of water to the boil in a large pot
  3. Add the red adzuki beans and lotus seeds into the pot
  4. Simmer for around 2-3 hours on a low heat, stirring occasionally until the beans start to separate/fall apart
  5. Wash the sweet rice and add to the pot
  6. Simmer for a further 1 hour on a low heat whilst stirring occasionally 
  7. Once the mixture has formed a soup-like texture, remove from the heat and stir in the rock sugar
  8. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then place the congee in the fridge until fully chilled
  9. Once chilled, serve and enjoy!

Red Bean Pancakes

Two fluffy pancakes with a sweet filling, this is sure one to whip up some excitement among your friends and family.

Here's how you to treat yourself... 

What You'll Need (6 servings)

  • 1 cup of red adzuki beans
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Method - Red Bean Paste

  1. Rinse the red adzuki beans
  2. Transfer these to a large pot, cover with water then start to boil over a high heat
  3. Bring the mixture to boil over a medium-high heat
  4. Once boiled, drain the water and keep the red adzuki beans in the large pot
  5. Add some more water to cover the red adzuki beans and bring this to a boil over a medium-high heat
  6. Once boiled, turn the heat down to medium-low, covering the mixture and continue to simmer for around 1 hour
  7. Keep checking throughout this time, as you may need to continually add more water to replace the evaportation
  8. After this time has elapsed, remove from heat and check the beans. If you can easily crush/mash them in your fingers, they're ready
  9. Drain the beans, then return them into the same large pot
  10. Heat these over medium-low heat whilst adding 1/2 cup of sugar, then mix
  11. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the other 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt to the mixture
  12. Mix constantly throughout to avoid any clumping
  13. Once the moisture has evaporated, remove from heat and transfer to a baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature 

Method - Pancakes

  1. In a large bowl, combine the 4 eggs, 2/3 cups of sugar and 2 tbsp of honey to whisk until the mixture is fluffy
  2. Sift both the flour and baking powder into the same box and mix. Once settled, allow to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes
  3. After this time, remove from the fridge and stir in 1 tbsp of water to mix
  4. Grab a frying pan and begin to warm over a medium-low heat. Glaze the pan with a little vegetable oil, then pour 3 tbsp worth of batter into the pan
  5. Cook on both sides until golden brown (20-30 seconds on both), then transfer to a plate and cover to avoid the moisture drying
  6. Repeat this process to make the rest of the pancake batch (12 in total)
  7. Spread the red bean paste across one pancake, then place another pancake on top 
  8. Serve and enjoy (wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for up to 2 days)!

      How can I get hold of Dried Red Adzuki Beans?

      This herb is available in the following quantities:

      Dried Red Adzuki Beans 红豆 (Hong Dou) | (100g)

      Dried Red Adzuki Beans 红豆 (Hong Dou) | (500g)


      Now that you've got some great ways to incorporate this versatile herb into your daily routine, show off your Hong Dou knowledge with your friends and family!

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      For any further queries regarding our authentic culinary herbs or any of our products, please email info@vitaherbalnutrition.com and we'll be happy to help. 

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