Updated: November 06, 2018
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Anko Recipe: How to Make Japan's Essential Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste

Here's a recipe for "anko". Anko is the sweet red bean paste you'll need to make a wide variety of Japanese traditional desserts. It's quite easy to make and requires just two ingredients: sugar and adzuki beans. Here's how it's done!

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Anko

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Anko bean paste, which is akin to a sweet bean jam, is the Japanese traditional taste you can add to so many of your favorite desserts. It's been eaten in Japan in Japan for centuries and is often found in traditional desserts such as the following.
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A topping for grilled mochi (rice cake) dango balls
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It's used as the filling for "dorakyaki", a kind of pancake sandwich filled with anko bean paste
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It can also be made into a sweet mochi dessert soup called "oshiruko". And there are so many other possible pairings to be done with this versatile ingredient.

Anko Recipe

The recipe for making your own anko sweet bean paste is as follows.

You'll need:

200 g of dried adzuki beans (adzuki beans are also known as red mung beans in English).
200 g of sugar
water

You'll also need a strainer and a pot.
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These are adzuki beans
Step 1: Wash the beans, then place them in a pot and bring the water to boil. Once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and place the lid on the pot and wait for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Drain all the water with the strainer and then place the beans back into the pot and add new water. Boil for another 40 minutes, making sure from time to time that there is enough water remaining in the pot. Add some if you see the level is getting low.

Step 3: Once the beans have become soft, drain some water to the point where the water just covers the beans (about what you see in the picture above).

Step 4: Put on low heat and add about have half of the sugar, stir until it has dissolved and finally add the other half.

Step 5: Simmer down until you get your desired consistency.

There you have it! Your very own home-made anko.

the adzuki beans a first time. Add a good amount of water so that the beans are covered by a water column a least three times the height of the beans resting at the bottom of the pot. The beans will absorb the water and gain a lot of volume, so it's important to have a lot of water.
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A nice and simple way to have it is a spread on toast.

"Koshian": for a different twist

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The anko recipe above is what is called a "tsubuan" kind of anko, which means that the means still have their shape. To make it into a smooth paste, you can put your tsubuan into a food processor. The resulting anko paste is called "koshian". It's a good ingredient to use as a filling for roll cakes for instance!
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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