January 19, 2022

Homemade Lotus Seed Paste 白蓮蓉

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

This lovely round of goldenness is my homemade Lotus Seed Paste,  白蓮蓉 , a soft, luscious, slightly nutty sweet paste made from lotus seeds that is used in many Chinese pastries and cake, including the famous Lotus Paste Double Yolk Mooncake 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅.  During our making of Lotus Seed Egg Tea  蓮子蛋茶 recently we discovered the secret of cooking lotus seeds that allows them to become meltingly soft.  Then I realized that this technique might make a huge impact on the lotus seed paste (that we previously wrote about when making Double Lotus Mooncake) that we make at home for our various mooncakes and Chinese pastries.  I tried it and I was right!  It totally made a huge difference, the softer lotus seeds pureed and cooked down into a lusciously soft creamy and melty paste, just like the ones in the shops!

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

Lotus seeds are usually sold dried.  It's quite rare to find fresh ones.  There are white lotus seeds 白蓮子 which means that they have had their skins removed, as shown in the photo above. There are brown lotus seeds, which means that they still have their brownish red skins on.  To make a prettier golden paste use the white lotus seeds.  Another distinction to look out for when buying is to check if they have had the green sprouts inside them removed.  It's a bit easier if it's removed already but if not you can just remove them yourself.

But these at your Chinese grocery store or, if in HK, you can buy them at the Chinese pharmacies as well.  Or order them online here.

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉
Lotus seeds cooked and ready to puree

So what's the secret to creamy melty lotus seed paste, you ask?  Well, I was absolutely gobsmacked that such a simple tweak to the process not only made such a huge difference to the texture of the lotus seeds but also saved a whole heck of a lot of effort!  In the method I used before the dried beans were soaked for a couple hours and then cooked for another couple hours.  With this new method no soaking is necessary, just remove any sprouts (they are bitter and must be removed!) and then add the dried lotus seeds directly into boiling water.  Cook for half an hour and Bob's your uncle.  Meltingly soft lotus seeds...yes!

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

The cooked lotus seeds are pureed in a food processor.  Reserve the cooking water and add in tbsp at a time until smooth pureed achieved.  Look at that beautiful puree!

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

Next the paste is fried with some oil.  We like to use our homemade lard, as it is the tastiest but regular oil is fine too.  The added oil gives the final paste its unctuousness.

Note that traditional recipes call for a lot more oil as more oil makes for a richer paste.  We cut down the oil to a couple of tbsp and were pleased with the lighter but still luscious paste.  How much oil you use is up to your preference.

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Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

Sugar  and maltose sugar 麥芽糖 is added in and quickly turns liquid.  Cook down the paste, stirring and flipping, basically drying out the paste.


Chinese maltose sugar is a sticky liquid syrup that is used in most pastes as it adds caramel-y depth of flavor.  It's super sticky and hard to get out of the tub without getting all over everything.  Use our trick of pouring cold water into maltose tub and then using your fingers to dig out however much you need.  Pour out water when done and recap.  Trust me, it's the easiest way.

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

The final paste.  You will know it's done when the paste comes together and does not stick to the pan anymore.  Pretty easy, huh?  Let it cool and it's ready to stuff your pastries!

Our homemade Lotus seed paste is a lovely golden color and a soft melty luscious texture with a caramel-y, slightly nutty, sweet taste.  Yummilicious enough to stuff a bun all by itself and also doubly yummy when mixed and matched with other stuffings like in our Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包 recipe.  Try this super easy to make recipe and I promise you'll never want or need to buy store bought lotus seed paste ever again!

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

Homemade Lotus Seed Paste Recipe  白蓮蓉
(makes 400g)  Prep time: 5 mins  Cook time: 40 mins

1 cup dried lotus seeds, 白蓮子
3/4 cup white sugar, 170g
2 tbps lard or peanut oil
1 tbsp maltose 麥芽糖

Check if your dried lotus seeds have green sprouts inside.  If yes then break seeds open with fingertips and remove sprouts.  All sprouts must be removed as they are quite bitter and will spoil the taste.  Do not let the lotus seeds get wet at this point!

Add 4 cups water to pot and set over high heat.  When water is boiling add in dried lotus seeds.  Turn heat to simmer, partially cover (the starch in the water will cause the pot to boil over if covered completely) and let cook for 30 mins or until the seeds can be easily pierced with a knife point.  Drain and let cool.

Add to food processor along with a tbps or two of the cooking water and purée.  Heat lard or oil in skillet until hot, add purée and stir fry 2 mins, flipping and stirring the whole time over medium high heat.  Add sugar and maltose and continue flipping and stirring until the purée becomes a paste that comes together and does not stick to the pan anymore, around 8-10 mins. Remove from heat and let cool.  As it cools it will become more firm.

The paste can be used immediately for stuffing pastries.   Shaping the lotus seed paste to desired shape and then putting in fridge for 10-15 mins to really firm up before wrapping with dough.  Can keep the paste covered and in fridge for 3 days or a month in the freezer.  Enjoy!

More Chinese Pastry Pastes at The Hong Kong Cookery:


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