Twisted Sweet Adzuki Bean Roll

sweet buns w adzuki bean filling n

Stuffed sweet dough is fairly easy to make and yields delicious results. Sweet, nutritious adzuki beans burst from this roll sprinkled with black sesame seeds. 

I have happy memories of making both steamed and baked versions of sweet buns for New Year’s Eve in Alaska a few years ago. These Arctic anpan were enjoyed by everyone. Back in those days, I relied on my Zojirushi bread maker to mix and rise all the dough for me. Now that we are in Mongolia, I am determined to make all my dough from scratch without the aid of any kind of machine. I’ve found that my bread machine recipes need just a little tweaking in order to convert them to fully handmade.

This from-scratch sweet dough recipe is simple enough. In order to amp up the looks of this confection, I jelly-rolled sweet adzuki paste into the sweet dough, slashed the dough as you would miniature French bread loaves, brushed them with egg to give the finished product a golden brown sheen, and sprinkled black sesame seeds for added flavor and a dash of “wow.” A friend at work told me these confections reminded her of bakery goods she used to buy in fancy Vietnamese boulangeries.

Sweet Adzuki Bean Roll


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten (reserve 1 tbsp egg)
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sweet adzuki paste*
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds


  1. Whisk sugar, milk and yeast together in a large bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until yeast starts to foam.
  2. Stir in egg, oil, and salt.
  3. Stir in flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Turn dough out onto floured surface.
  5. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  6. Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough into a thick rope.
  9. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.
  10. Roll each piece into a rectangle, about 5 inches by 6 inches.
  11. Spread adzuki bean paste (about 2 tbsp) onto rectangle, avoiding the edges.
  12. Roll the dough, jellyroll-style. Pinch to seal the seam.
  13. Place rolls, seam side down on baking sheet.
  14. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  15. Cover rolls and let rise for 30 minutes.
  16. Slash the rolls a few times with sharp knife.
  17. Brush all rolls with reserved egg. Sprinkle rolls with black sesame seeds.
  18. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  19. Bake for 20 minutes. Finished buns should be browned and shiny.

*I made adzuki bean paste using just dried adzuki beans, water and sugar following the excellent directions from Japanese Cooking 101.

Dough recipe adapted from

Matcha Adzuki Bean Glazed Rolls

adzuki bean glazed role n

Sweet adzuki bean paste rolled into matcha-flavored dough with a dollop of buttery frosting… a confection you might expect to find in a trendy coffee shop in San Francisco’s Mission District.

My culinary love affair with matcha green tea is deepening. Cookie dough was an easy place to start with the distinctive flavor of this Japanese tea. In the midst of sampling my matcha butter cookies, my mind was already racing to the next possible recipes that could feature matcha… and then I remembered the bag of dried adzuki beans sitting on the shelf. What about sweet adzuki bean paste rolled into a matcha green tea dough – an Asian fusion cinnamon roll? Brilliant! All the fun of unrolling breakfast and enough tasty sweetness to satisfy without the gooey sugar overload of a traditional cinnamon roll.

Thinking ahead to life in a tiny home, I created a small batch version of these rolls that are made in a 6-muffin tin. I made the rolls the night before and placed them in a buttered muffin tin in the fridge overnight. They rose in the fridge and were ready for breakfast with minimal time and minimal oven energy. All good aspects for a tiny home recipe.

Matcha Adzuki Bean Glazed Rolls


  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp green matcha tea powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup adzuki bean paste*


  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp milk


  1.  Warm milk and butter in a small saucepan until it reaches about 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
  2. Place yeast and granulated sugar into a large bowl. Pour warmed milk mixture into bowl. Whisk together.
  3. Whisk in egg and salt.
  4. Mix in matcha powder.
  5. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
  6. When dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  7. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes.
  8. Roll out dough to about a 6 x 9 inch rectangle.
  9. Spread adzuki bean paste evenly onto dough.
  10. Take the 6-inch side and roll dough, jelly roll style. Pinch seam to seal.
  11. Cut into 6 equal pieces.
  12. Place pieces into buttered 6-muffin tin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  13. Bring rolls out 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190C).
  14. Bake rolls for 15 minutes. Top will be golden brown. Remove rolls from muffin tin to cool slightly.
  15. While rolls are baking, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth.
  16. Dollop glaze onto slightly cooled rolls and enjoy. Leftovers are a good snack served at room temperature.

*I made adzuki bean paste using just dried adzuki beans, water and sugar following the excellent directions from Japanese Cooking 101.