Anko (餡子,あんこ), or sometimes we call it An (餡, あん), is sweet red bean paste made from azuki beans. It’s one of the basic ingredients for wagashi (Japanese confectioneries). It’s usually used for filling for mochi, dango, and dorayaki, and topping for Anmitsu and Green Tea Shaved Ice, as well as for dessert soup called Zenzai (Oshiruko).
When azuki beans are cooked until soft and the mixture is not pureed and there are still whole beans left, it’s considered “Tsubu-an”. Because it’s still chunky, it’s great for fillings for sweets like Strawberry Daifuku Mochi, Dorayaki Daifuku Mochi, Strawberry etc.
Here’s the Tsubuan recipe.
Or you can purchase premade Tsubuan like this.
It’s between tsubu-an and koshi-an, where some of azuki beans are crushed but the skins are included.
Koshi-An is very smooth, pureed azuki beans where the beans are cooked until soft and passed through a sieve to get the finest texture without the skins. The package looks like this.
Traditionally, ogura-an means the regular koshi-an mixed with tsubuan which is cooked in sweet syrup. For tsubu-an, dainagon azuki bean (大納言小豆), the highest quality of azuki beans, is used. However, in recent years, “ogura-an” is used to mean tsubu-an.
To learn how to make Tsubu-an, click here for the recipe.