Anko, sweetened Azuki bean paste, is used in many Japanese confectionery. Personally, I love anything with red bean paste just like how some people are crazy about chocolate (I do love both). I will be sharing another red bean sweet recipe in a week or two, so today I am going to share how to make Anko from scratch and a red bean dessert soup called Zenzai using Anko.
The inspiration for making this recipe actually came from the readers of Just One Cookbook. Some of you had told me that you can’t find canned sweetened red bean paste in your area so I prepared a How To page for this recipe.
Zenzai is a traditional Japanese dessert. It’s a thick sweet soup consists of boiled azuki beans and often served with mochi (rice cake) or shiratama dango (glutinous rice flour dumplings – Recipe here). Oshiruko (お汁粉) or Shiruko is another name used in east of Japan where azuki beans are boiled and then crushed into paste and it has a more watery consistency than zenzai.
Sweet azuki bean soup with sticky mochi is a comforting sweet for Japanese people in winter time.
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- In a saucepan, heat anko and water and bring it to a boil. Add pinch of salt and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Cut mochi in half/quarter (if you like) and place mochi in a toaster oven and toast (or bake at 400F) until puffed up and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- When the mochi is nice and toasty take it out and put it in the Zenzai. Enjoy immediately but be careful and don't burn yourself.