Super Delicious “Off the Wall” Bean Recipes #9
#9 JAPANESE HOKKAIDO AZUKI BEANS
Grown in the rich volcanic soil of Hokkaido, the cold northernmost island of Japan.
Their deep, burgundy sheen will attest to their nutritious quality and flavor.
Anko, sweet red bean paste, is used in many baked goods and sweet treats in Japan. It is usually prepared by boiling and sometimes mashing azuki beans and then sweetening the paste with sugar. The most common types of read bean paste include Tsubuan and Koshian.
Tsubuan is prepared by boiling and sweetening with sugar. Koshian is prepared by passing through a sieve to remove bean skins, and this is most commonly used for wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery).
Other varieties of anko includes Shiroan, made from Japanese white beans and Kurian made from chestnuts.
Anko is used in Anmitsu, Daifuku, Dango, Dorayaki, Oshiruko / Zenzai, Taiyaki, Manju, and Yokan.
- 200g (7 oz, a little bit less than 1 cup which is 220g) Azuki beans (Today I used Hokkaido Dainagon Azuki Beans (bigger than regular azuki))
- 200g (7 oz, 1 cup) granulated white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Soak the azuki beans overnight (8-12 hours).
- Rinse azuki beans.
- Use a big saucepan/pot because the amount of azuki beans will double after cooking. Put washed azuki beans in the pot and pour water till 1-2 inch above azuki beans. Turn the heat on high.
- When boiling, turn off the heat and cover with lid. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Throw away water and put the azuki beans into a sieve.
- Put the azuki beans back in the pot. Add enough water just to cover the beans and turn the heat on high. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium low and keep it simmering.
- Once in a while push the azuki beans under the water with slotted spoon. Water will evaporate so you need to keep adding water to cover just above the beans. If you put too much water, the beans will move and break. If you need to leave the kitchen, make sure to turn off the heat. Cook for 1+ hour.
- Pick one azuki bean and squeeze it with your fingers. If it is smashes easily, it’s done.
- Turn up the heat to high and add sugar in 3 separate times. Stirring constantly. When you draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and see the bottom for more than 2 seconds, add salt and turn off heat. Anko will thicken more when it cools.
Anko is ready to use. If you’re not using right away, put it in an airtight container to cool down. Once it’s cooled, keep in the fridge or freezer. I recommend storing it in small 100g packages. Wrap each anko in plastic wrap and store in a Ziploc Freezer bag. Homemade anko can be stored in the fridge for a week and freezer up to a month