Much like red bean paste, white lotus paste is a popular filling for Chinese pastries and confections. You often find them inside steamed buns, mooncakes, and filled rice cakes. We enjoy making steamed buns with our fillings, and this is definitely on our list of things to make with the lotus paste!
We got the idea of making our own lotus paste when we found out that many store-bought mooncakes were mixed with white bean paste, and also because the filling can be quite sweet. It took a bit of trial and error; we were striving for a smooth product. We’re happy to say that our white lotus paste is so delicious inside out homemade sweets, and we’re excited to share our recipe with you!
Recipe for Bái Lián Róng (白蓮蓉) - Chinese-Style White Lotus Paste
- 150g (about 5¼oz) dry Lotus Seeds
- 1L (about 34oz) Water
- 7g (½T) Baking Soda
- 110g (about ½-cup) Brown Slab Sugar
- Dash (⅛t) Kosher Salt
- 75g (about 6T) Lard or Vegetable Shortening
- 50g (2½T) Maltose
- In a large bowl, wash and drain the lotus seeds, and refill the bowl with fresh water. Set aside for 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Once the seeds have re-hydrated, drain and set aside. Bring 450g of water and the baking soda to a boil. Toss the seeds into the pot and blanch for 1 minute.
- Drain the pot and place the lotus seeds into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with fresh water and remove the brown skins clinging to the seeds. Drain again.
- Open each seed, and remove and discard the green inner germ.
- Place the seeds back into a large pot, pour in 500g water, and bring the pot to a boil. Skim any scum and foam that accumulates at the top. Lower the flame, and cover. Keep it on a steady simmer until the lotus seeds are easily mushed without much resistance, and with much of the water boiled out, about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes.
- Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.
- In a large pan on a low flame, melt the slab sugar with 50g of water. Once dissolved, pour the melted sugar into the paste. Add a touch of salt. Blend for a few seconds to combine. Scoop out all of the white lotus paste into the pan and cook the paste with the lard on a low flame, stirring continuously, about 25 minutes. The result should look like thick Greek yogurt.
- Finally, mix in the maltose, stir the white lotus paste, and cook until the paste pulls clean from the pan. It should look like thick peanut butter. Cool completely before using in baked goods and confections.
- If it's a hot day, place the soaking seeds in the refrigerator.
- Be mindful of the water level inside the pot. At the 50-minute mark, the water should be close to complete absorption, with some pooling. If the water is dissipating too quickly, the seeds will burn. By the hour-and-twenty-minute mark, the pot should look as if you're making refried beans.
- Use a food processor if you don't own an immersion blender.
- Many people use granulated sugar to create a lighter-colored lotus paste, but we decided to use light brown slab sugar to keep it more natural. If what you're looking for is a lighter-colored paste, replace equal weight of slab sugar with white sugar.
- Greek yogurt comes in a variety of textures, I know; however, I'm looking for a texture that is a bit more slack than peanut butter. If you're mixing it in the pan and it's still sticking to the bottom and sides, it's not dry enough. I try to make the white lotus paste so that it can be shaped, but not so dry that it begins to crumble. The final product should glisten due to the fats and sugars, and begin to pull away from the pan, coming together like a ball.
- If you want to make this white lotus paste vegetarian, use vegetable shortening instead of lard.
- You can source the slab sugar and maltose at your local Asian grocery store. The slab sugar comes in bars, in dark and light varieties. I use the light-colored ones for this recipe.
**Here are some of the ingredients I use for this recipe. Please, feel free to browse and ask questions on anything you see listed below.**
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