Chinese Black Date Paste 棗泥餡 (5 ingredients)

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Read the post in: 繁體中文

Black date paste is a special element in many Chinese snacks and desserts. It got a very special earthy, smoky flavor that no other things could imitate. Haven’t tried it yet? Here’s how to make it with only 5 ingredients.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

So, this year’s Chinese New Year is around the corner, I bet you’re ready for some sweets. Cus I do. I’m totally ready for some Chinese candies, especially for the black date candies, yum!

For that purpose, I think we need a basic black date paste first. I know you might be able to buy it somewhere, but nothing beats homemade food, most of the time. So let’s do this!

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Ingredients You Need

This black date paste is really simple, made with only 4-5 ingredients. I usually use 5 because it creates a more delicate flavor in the end, in my opinion.

  • Chinese black dates: The Chinese name is “Hei Zao”(黑棗), literally meaning black dates. As the name suggests, they are black in color. They are fresh Chinese red dates that have been dried and smoked. I’m in Taiwan and they are not so hard to find in some traditional grocery stores.
  • Chinese red dates: aka Jujube. They are kind of the big sister of Chinese black dates, but red in color and smaller than black dates. They are more common compared with black dates. You can easily find them in the dried food area in supermarkets in Taiwan. You can use all black dates as well if you don’t have red dates at hand.
  • Sugar: You can use any kind of granule sugar. I use a kind of sugar called Trehalose, which could keep the moisture in food longer.
  • Maltose: Maltose, “Mai Ya Tung”(麥芽糖) in Chinese, is a very essential ingredient in many traditional Chinese desserts and snacks. It’s a syrup that is super viscous and sticky, hard to scoop out in a way. There are mainly two types of maltose: brown (traditional one) or translucent in color (Mizuame 水飴). Either would work for this recipe.
  • Oil: Any neutral oil will be fine. I use grapeseed oil this time.

We also need some water but I don’t count it as an ingredient here because I assume water is very accessible for most of us.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

How to Make Chinese Black Date Paste

I have to first say that my method might not be the most traditional one, but it’s how I like to make it and I think it works great.

First, soak both dates in 270 ml of water for 3-6 hours. This way, the dates will puff up and get soft.

Next, remove the pits in the dates. I know it’s kind of a lot of work, but trust me this is the fussiest work in this recipe. Just play your favorite songs and it will pass!

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Then, add the pitted Chinese dates and the soaking water to a blender. Blend until mostly smooth. If your blend has a hard time blending, add a dash of water to help. The resulting mixture should be very thick.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a non-stick pan to get a smooth paste. I like to use a silicone spatula for this step.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

After that, add the sugar and maltose to the paste. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Add oil. Keep cooking and stirring until the oil is well incorporate and the paste thickens. You can test by gently touching the paste with your finger (be careful, it’s hot) and it should not stick to your finger, at least not very much. The paste will get more solid and stiff as it cools down.

Let it cool and it’s ready for use.

自製棗泥餡 Black Date Paste

Notes & Tips

How to Store Use Chinese Black Date Paste

Store it in an air-tight jar or container in the fridge. It should be fine for 1-2 weeks. If you want to save it for longer, pop it in the freezer to last for 3-4 months.

How to Use Chinese Black Date Paste

You can use this date paste as filling in Chinese pastries or candies, like moon cakes or other baked goods.

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It gets too stiff/hard in the end, what to do?

If it’s too hard to scoop for use, add some water and heat it up over medium heat in a pan or in a microwave. It should become soft and more paste-like.

I don’t have maltose. Is there any substitute for maltose?

I will say, NO. Maltose is really unique both flavor-wise and texture-wise. If you use another type of syrup, chances are you will not get the same taste and texture.

Can I cut down the sugar?

Just want to let you know that I’ve already cut down the sugar because I don’t like very sweet stuff. But we do need enough sugar to keep this paste as it is, more cutting-down will not be recommended. And trust me this recipe is the right amount of sweetness, at least for me.

Chinese Black Date Paste

That’s it. I know it’s no the easiest thing in the world but it’s really worth trying and experiencing. I’ll use it in my other recipes as well.

If you’re interested in more Asian/Taiwanese desserts, check out:

Chinese Black Date Paste 棗泥餡 (5 ingredients)

Black date paste is a special element in many Chinese snacks and desserts. It got a very special earthy, smoky flavor that no other things could imitate. Haven't tried it yet? Here's how to make it with only 5 ingredients.
Author: Barrel Leaf
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Soaking3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: 10 minutes or less, 7 ingredients or less, Asian recipe, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

  • 150 g Chinese black dates 黑棗, (~5.3oz)
  • 50 g Chinese red dates 紅棗, 1.76 oz
  • 270 ml water, (1 + 1/8 cup)
  • 100 g sugar, (1 cup)
  • 120 g maltose 麥芽糖
  • 4 Tbsp oil, *

Instructions

  • Soak both dates in 270 ml of water for 3-6 hours. This way, the dates will puff up and get soft.
  • Remove the pits in the dates. I know it’s kind of a lot of work, but trust me this is the fussiest work in this recipe. Just play your favorite songs and it will pass!
  • Then, add the pitted Chinese dates and the soaking water to a blender. Blend until mostly smooth. If your blend has a hard time blending, add a dash of water to help. The resulting mixture should be very thick.
  • Pour the mixture through a sieve into a non-stick pan to get a smooth paste. I like to use a silicone spatula for this step.
  • Add the sugar and maltose to the paste. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add oil. Keep cooking and stirring until the oil is well incorporate and the paste thickens. You can test by gently touching the paste with your finger (be careful, it’s hot) and it should not stick to your finger, at least not very much. The paste will get more solid and stiff as it cools down.
  • Let it cool and it’s ready for use.**

Notes

  • *I use grapeseed oil this time. Any natural oil will be fine, like sunflower seed oil.
  • **If it gets too hard/stiff, reheat the paste with some water and stir to mix it up.
  • Storage: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or 3-4 months in the freezer.

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