Fire Rooster’s Sweet Red Bean Buns

[This post was one day late since The Messy Cooker caught whatever bug was going around. Sorry for the delay, everyone!]

Feeling peckish? I’m sure you do. After all, it’s the Year of the Rooster. That’s right. We’re approaching poultry pun territory. This post is absolutely stuffed with them.

If you haven’t already heard WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP, beginning last Saturday, it is now the Year of the Fire Rooster. Meaning it’s your year if you were born in 1957 or 2017. If you think of yourself as a trustworthy character, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work, then you might just be a Fire Rooster. Or you’re a very responsible person. Either one, really.

Sounds pretty good, right?? Wrong. If you’re a Fire Rooster, then this year is unlucky for you. Doom on you, doom on you—okay, fine, I’m quoting the dodo birds from Ice Age, but I still consider them poultry.

Try being cocky for once…and make something new this week. How about some sweet steamed GET OUT OF BED ITS MORNING red bean buns for a change?

I don’t own a steamer; so making these buns was a real wake up call that it’s time to get actual cooking equipment. If you have a steamer, good for you, this recipe will be much easier. If you don’t, you can try what I did and end up with slightly ugly looking buns, but delicious regardless.

BE WARNED. This is a tough recipe. With the help of my good friend Moony, we were able to get these buns looking decent, however it was a real struggle. We decided to try both steaming and baking. Both turned out well and in the end what we liked best was based on personal preference.

Recipe for Fire Rooster’s Sweet Red Bean Buns

*Source: red bean bun recipe from and red bean paste recipe from

Servings: 22 small buns (more like 16 large ones)

Time: Too long—8.5 hours for the red bean paste + 2 hours for the buns, if done correctly

Difficulty: VERY HARD (to make very soft buns)


Red Bean Paste with Dates

  • 1 cup dry adzuki beans [200g]
  • 1 cup dates (*you may need more or less than this amount, depending on how sweet you want it)
  • water


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast = 2¼ teaspoons
  • 3/4 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)


Red Bean Paste (Read this one day ahead of time)

  1. Super soak beans. Put the adzuki beans in a bowl. Cover with water. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. The next day…rinse and drain the soaked beans.
  3. Cook beans. Place the beans in a large pot and fill with enough water to completely cover the beans plus one inch more. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are quite soft ~ about 1

*Note 1: Meanwhile, start soaking your dates in water.

*Note 2: Do steps 1-4 of “Minds the Buns”. It’ll save you time.

  1. Cool beans. Remove from heat and drain the beans.
  2. Crush beans. Use a food processor to break the beans down into a smooth paste. Add the soaked dates and blend
  3. De-hydrate beans. Cook out any excess water. In a non-stick pot or pan over low to medium heat, spread out the red bean paste. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the paste around so that the beans don’t burn.

*Note: I cooked mine for about 3-4 minutes. The dates make it hard to tell if the paste is burning, so use your nose!


  1. Freeze beans [optional]. Place the finished red bean paste into a heat-proof container to cool. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer.

Mind the Buns

  1. Yeasty boys. Put the yeast in a medium-sized bowl. (Careful, it’s alive). Add 3/4 cups of hot water. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. You’ve got chops-ticks. Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Then, pour the yeast/water mixture slowly into the large bowl and stir with a chopstick.
  3. Knead I say more? Knead the flour into smooth and soft dough. It should be sticky.

*Note: we converted the amount of flour wrong and made very dry dough. Don’t do this! If your dough is runny, keep adding flour until it’s sticky. If it’s dry, keep adding water until it’s sticky.


  1. Dough rest is history. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for around 1 hour or until the dough ball doubles in
  2. Punch the dough, boy. After an hour is up, punch the air out of the dough and continue kneading for several minutes. Then roll the dough into a long log around 1 inch in diameter.

*Note: this will give you arm muscle. It’s harder than you think.

  1. Start making buns, hun. Add a bit of flour to a cutting board. Place the log of dough on the board. Cut 1 inch pieces off to make each bun.

*Note: cut the log each time you make a bun. If you cut all of the pieces at once, the dough will start to dry out as it waits for you to use

  1. Press-dough (presto). Press the small dough to a thin round wrapper with your palm. Place 1 tablespoon of the sweet red bean paste in the center of your wrapper and seal the wrapper
  2. Steam your buns. Turn the buns over so that the sealed surface is underneath. Brush some oil on the bottom and place in the steamer (or get a large pot, add water, bring to a boil, place strainer on top, then add buns). Cover with lid and steam for about 10-20 minutes.

*Alternative method (baking): cover the buns with oil (or a light egg wash) and bake for 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees.

  1. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before lifting the cover.
  2. Serve warm.

Serving Suggestions

Eat the buns for breakfast. Treat yo self.

Quick Clean Up

Let everything soak. It’ll help peel all of the extra dough/bun excess off later. I left everything in the sink overnight and that did the trick (but your roommate might not like it).

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Want to see some nice buns? WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP

Want to see cat buns? Clicksee.

Curious what song this recipe made me think of? You might be able to guess. Click-o.