bean paste sweets are a group of popular Asian confections filled or composed of a sweetened bean paste. Bean paste made from azuki beans is the quintessential sweet filling used in numerous Japanese, Chinese, and Korean pastries. See azuki beans. It is prepared by boiling azuki beans, pounding or chopping them, and combining and cooking the paste with sugar, and lard in some countries. For a more refined version, the paste is pressed through a sieve to remove the skins. Red azuki beans, because of their auspicious color, have meant good fortune since the Han dynasty (206 b.c.e to 220 c.e.) and are eaten on holidays, birthdays, and other festive occasions in pastries, puddings, soups, and other sweet confections.