Lotus Seed Paste

How to make homemade Lotus Seed Paste for use in Asian breads and cakes. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

homemade lotus seed paste in white bowl

Lotus Seed Paste

Many Asian breads and cakes contain a sweet paste-like filling, and Lotus Seed Paste is a popular option. Lotus Seed Paste is very mild in flavour and has no distinct smell like some other Asian pastes used in baked goods. It is one of my favourite filling for Mooncakes.

As the name suggests, it is made from dried lotus seeds which are rehydrated, cooked until soft, and then processed into a smooth purée.

homemade lotus seed paste in bowl with measuring spoons

Homemade Lotus Seed Paste

It is possible to buy ready-made lotus seed paste in some Asian grocery stores, but making your own means that it tastes fresher and with no preservatives added, plus you can control the sweetness of the paste.

A homemade Lotus Seed Paste will taste different to the ready-made product; it is usually coarser and drier in texture, whereas the ready-made version is typically very smooth. I think there is a place for both versions, but I also like that friends and family can tell when Lotus Seed Paste is homemade because it simply looks and tastes more rustic.

Making your own Lotus Seed Paste might feel like a lengthy task, but the results are definitely worth it. It’s one of those recipes which might require a lot of time, but it is very easy to make.

Dried Lotus Seeds

To make your own Lotus Seed Paste, you will need to buy dried lotus seeds, which are commonly available from most Asian grocers and they are quite cheap.

Look for the variety which have been split and where the green germ in the centre of the seeds have already been removed. Otherwise, once you have soaked the seeds, you will need to remove these green germs from every individual seed before proceeding with the rest of the recipe (which would be a recipe killer for me!).

How to Make Lotus Seed Paste

Step 1

Soak the dried lotus seeds in a large bowl with a lot of water. Soak them for at least 8 hours or overnight.

dried lotus seeds in white mixing bowl

Step 2

Drain the soaked lotus seeds and transfer them to a large pot. Cover with water and cook them for about 2 hours on medium-high heat on the stove, or for about 15-20 minutes using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot on high pressure.

The seeds are cooked sufficiently when you can mash them easily with a fork. If you taste a seed, it should be very soft with no bite.

cooking dried lotus seeds in a pot of water

Step 3

Drain the cooked seeds and place them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the sugar and salt.

cooked lotus seeds in a food processor

Step 4

Blitz everything together until you have a smooth purée.

If your mixture looks a bit dry (which could possibly be a sign that your lotus seeds are under-cooked), add some hot water to help everything blend together smoothly. The consistency should be like a wet hummus.

If you are a purist, you might want to pass the purée through a fine sieve to have an ultra-smooth paste. I tried this once and gave up after 30 minutes, by which time I had only pushed through a few tablespoons of the paste through the sieve. The beauty of homemade pastes is that you can get away with a more rustic texture 😉

pureéd lotus seeds in food processor

Step 5

Transfer the puréed lotus seeds to a large non-stick pan. Cook the paste over medium-heat, stirring with a firm spatula or wooden spoon to slowly dry out the paste.

Add a tablespoon of oil at a time, stirring it in the mixture to emulsify the paste.

As soon as one tablespoon of oil has been absorbed into the paste, add the next tablespoon of oil.

Keep stirring to ensure that the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, and to ensure that the mixture is continually emulsified.

cooking lotus seed paste in non-stick pan

Step 6

As the mixture starts to thicken, start folding the paste from the outer-edges towards the centre. Keep repeating until the mixture holds its shape as you do so and you can form a firm block.

The paste should still be quite smooth and soft, but it will firm up more as it cools.

Transfer the paste to a large bowl or container to let it cool completely before using.

cooked lotus seed paste in non-stick pan

Recipes Using Lotus Seed Paste

Recipes using Lotus Seed Paste include:

Mooncakes with Lotus Seed Paste and Salted Egg Yolk

Print

Lotus Seed Paste

5 from 1 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 2.5 hours
  • Total Time: 16 minute
  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Chinese

How to make homemade Lotus Seed Paste for use in Asian breads and cakes. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

Ingredients

  • 200 g (7 ounces) dried lotus seeds
  • 150 g (2/3 cup) caster sugar, or to taste
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 100 g sunflower oil (or another flavourless oil)

Instructions

To soak the lotus seeds

  1. Place the dried lotus seeds into a large bowl.
  2. Cover the seeds generously with cold water.
  3. Leave the seeds to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To cook the lotus seeds

  1. Drain the lotus seeds.
  2. If the lotus seeds have a green germ in the centre, you will need to remove them from every seed.
  3. Place the soaked lotus seeds into a large pot and fill it with cold water. I like to cook the seeds in a lot of water, so I cover the seeds with at least 5-10 cm depth of water.
  4. Bring the pot to the boil, and then turn it down to a medium simmer.
  5. Top up with boiling water every 30 minutes or so to keep the water level constant.
  6. Cook the lotus seeds for about 2 hours on the stove. Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, you can cook the lotus seeds on high pressure for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. The lotus seeds are cooked when the seeds can be easily mashed with a fork. If you taste a cooked seed, it should be very soft with no bite.

To purée the lotus seeds

  1. Drain the cooked lotus seeds.
  2. Place the cooked seeds into the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Add the sugar and salt.
  4. Blitz until you have a very smooth purée. If the mixture is too thick, add a dash of water until you can blend easily. The texture should be like a wet hummus.

To cook the lotus seed paste

  1. Scrape the mixture into a large non-stick pan.
  2. Start cooking the paste over medium-high heat.
  3. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the paste so that the moisture can evaporate from the mixture.
  4. As you stir, add about a tablespoon of the oil at a time.
  5. Keep stirring until the oil is well-incorporated into the paste.
  6. Once the mixture has emulsified, add some more oil.
  7. Continue until all of the oil has been added.
  8. Once all of the oil has been added, continue stirring the mixture so that it can thicken.
  9. Eventually, the goal is to be able to fold the paste from the outer-edges into the centre until the paste is a little firm and can hold its shape. By this stage, the paste will resemble a very soft cookie dough.
  10. Be careful to not over-cook the paste as it can burn, or it can split, i.e. the paste will separate and look grainy. If this happens, it’s probably too late to rescue the paste, but you can try by adding a splash of water and mixing everything together furiously.
  11. Transfer the paste to a large bowl and let it cool completely. The paste will firm up more as it cools.
  12. If you are making this paste ahead of time, you can keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days.

Kitchen Notes

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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4 comments

  1. Jenny 14 September 2022

    Hi there,
    I see other recipes for lotus seed paste use maltose. Did you forget to add this to your ingredients or do you leave it out completely? Do you think the maltose will make a big difference to the taste?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 17 September 2022

      Hi Jenny,
      No, I don’t use maltose in my recipe, mostly because it’s not readily available where I live. I don’t think it will make a big difference to the taste. But if it is easy to find where you live, you could add a touch of maltose to a small portion of the lotus seed paste to see how it tastes.

      Reply
  2. Katy 14 September 2022

    Your photos are very helpful. Thank you! I just started to soak my lotus seeds now and hope to make the paste later this evening. I love your website!

    Reply