Adzuki are small red beans commonly used in Korean, Japanese and Chinese confections. Called pat in Korean, these beans have a natural sweetness uncommon in legumes. Added sugar or honey during boiling to make the bean paste accentuates the sweetness for use in a number of East Asian desserts.

Based on archaeological findings, Asians have been cooking adzuki beans since 4000 BC. That’s more than 6,000 years of culinary history. How I wish I had a cookbook from back then.

Black bean brownie recipes have been around for some time, especially here in California. Most versions are flourless, which is helpful for those on gluten-free or Celiac disease diets.

Every time I would talk to people about black bean brownies, I’d scratch my head at why anyone would use black beans when red beans seemed a more logical confection choice. In my culinary world, it’s just a given that the black beans had to go and red beans should take center stage.

Adzuki Bean Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Category: Modern Korean, Top Posts, Top Posts - Winter

Adzuki Bean Brownies


  • 16 ounces red bean paste
  • 2 whole bananas
  • 1/3 cup 쌀엿 ssalyeot (Korean rice syrup)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (For the exotic, use Chinese five-spice powder.)
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup instant oats (I used one packet of maple and brown sugar–flavored instant oats.)


  1. Blend everything except the oats in a food processor until the batter is smooth.
  2. Add the oats to the batter. When everything is well-blended, pour the batter into an 8-inch-square or similar-volume greased pan.
  3. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30–45 minutes.
  4. Poke a toothpick or utensil into the baked brownie.
  5. If it comes out clean, remove the pan and let it cool.
  6. If the probe doesn't come out clean after 45 minutes, bake the mixture for up to 15 minutes more then remove the pan and allow it to cool. The mixture will set up as it dries.


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