The first time I had a red bean shake was during my university days in Bangkok. A constant mob of students parched from Thailand’s infamous heat and humidity weather cocktail, could be seen surrounding this one popular on-campus drink vendor. Since there was no real concept of queueing, in order to get a drink, we had to fight our way through the little crowd, one hand in the air waving cash, while semi-shouting our order (politely of course, we were Thai after all).
The reward was always worth it.
It’s been hot the last few days here in Boston, so I wanted to recreate this sweetly refreshing drink. I needed to start with the red bean paste, which is available in most Asian marts. I didn’t feel like using a canned paste, so I decided to make the paste from scratch. It’s quite simple, but would take a bit of time — low maintenance time however.
Red Bean Paste
- Package of red beans (Mine was 400g, a little less than 2 cups.)
- Sugar (I used turbinado sugar, but white sugar is fine too.)
1. Rinse beans, put in a large pot, and cover with plenty of water. I’d say start with filling it halfway. (You’ll add more as you go along.)
2. Bring to boil – stir occasionally
3. Bring back down to a simmer
4. After an hour or so, add 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt
5. Continue to let simmer
6. Check back occasionally to stir and monitor the water level. Taste – adjust sugar level to your taste. Continue to add water and let simmer until the beans are soft and thickened. (Mine took quite a few hours. **Make this on an afternoon when you are staying in and doing things around the house anyway. I find it quite cozy having something simmering away in the kitchen!)
7. Let cool and place in a container to store in the fridge.
Red Bean Shake
- 1/2 cup of paste
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk (Evaporated milk is typically used in these types of drinks in Thailand. Try it with regular milk, soy milk, etc. A friend of mine even uses coconut milk. It’s your drink – do it your way!)
- 5-6 ice cubes (or more, however you like it)
Blend in blender till smooth. Pour into glass, and (optional) top with a little sweet condensed milk.
Keep a jar of the red bean paste in the fridge. You can spoon over ice cream (might have to thin it out with some water on low heat), or put in a bowl, add shaved ice, and top with sweet condensed milk for a nice summer treat.
Read Full Post »