White lotus seed paste is smooth, fragrant and you can customize the level of sweetness to taste. Make it as filling for sweet treats, such as mooncakes.
Before making lotus seed paste at home, I’m not too fond of store-bought mooncakes with lotus seed filling. The filling is usually too sweet while flavorless with a weird texture. On the contrary, homemade paste is smooth, creamy, mildly nutty and fragrant. It’s just pure lotus seeds with no filler ingredient, and you can have total control of the sweetness level.
Watch How to Make Lotus Seed Paste
We have talked briefly about lotus seeds (hạt sen) in our lotus seed and dried longan sweet soup recipe. The seeds are the nuts of lotus flower plants and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Lotus seeds are available in fresh and dried forms. It is so easy to buy them fresh in Vietnam, so we use fresh seeds to make the paste. If you can only find dried seeds, soak them overnight before using. Whether you use fresh or dried seeds, inspect them and remove the green germs which are very bitter in the center.
You will also need sugar and oil to make the paste. I find the scent of coconut oil goes well with lotus seeds. It is also fine to use neutral-flavored oil.
It is not difficult to make the paste though you will need to be a little patient. First, boil lotus seeds until soft and process until smooth in a food processor.
The next step requires a bit of time and attention. Constantly stir to cook the purée over medium-low heat to let excess water evaporate while incorporating oil and sugar into the paste.
How long does it take to cook lotus seed paste? It takes me about 25 minutes but it can vary slightly. The paste is done when it can stick to itself and no longer stick to the pan. It should be firm enough to hold itself while still soft to the touch.
We love to use the paste for our homemade baked mooncakes (banh nuong) and snow skin mooncakes (banh deo). I hope you will give them a try.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Lotus Seed Paste
- 7 oz fresh lotus seeds (see Notes for dried seeds)
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 1.6 oz granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup oil (either coconut oil or neutral-flavored oil)
- Inspect lotus seeds and remove the green germs in the center if there is any left.
- Add lotus seeds, water and a pinch of salt to a small pot. Bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the seeds are completely soft.
- Drain the seeds and let them cool down for several minutes. Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
- Add lotus seeds to a food processor and process until smooth. Add just enough cooking liquid to make it easier to purée the seeds. Adding too much liquid will increase the cooking time in the later step. Add sugar and process for a few more seconds.
- Strain the purée (optional) and transfer it to a pan. Place over medium-low heat and constantly stir to cook off the excess moisture. After about 4-5 minutes, add oil and continue to stir to incorporate the oil and cook off the moisture.
- It may take 25-30 minutes of stirring and cooking the paste. It is ready when it can stick to itself and no longer stick to the pan. It should be firm enough to stand on its own while still soft to the touch.
- Transfer to a plate to cool completely. Then you can use it right away, or cover and refrigerate and use it the next day. You should have about 8.5oz (or 240g) of lotus seed paste.
- If you use dried lotus seeds, soak them in water overnight before boiling them.
- You can adjust the amount of sugar to taste. This white lotus seed paste recipe is not too sweet. Sweeter paste can be kept for longer though.
- I don’t use a lot of oil and sugar so I added them all at once. If you decide to use more oil or sugar, you may want to add them in batch. If you increase the amount of sugar significantly, you may want to use icing sugar to make sure it is incorporated well into the paste.
- You will have about 8.5oz (or 240g) of lotus seed paste from this recipe. That is enough for me to make 12 small 60g snow skin mooncakes or 4 medium 100g baked mooncakes with no salted egg yolk in the filling.